Morro Bay’s city manager and council are considering one of world’s largest lithium storage facilities within a few blocks of a neighborhood where hundreds of people are now living and near Morro Bay high school.

After doing my research on the subject, it is my opinion that downtown Morro Bay is not the right place to put a highly dangerous lithium-ion battery storage facility. I believe in Li-ion battery technology, but not a facility this large. The technical literature I have been reading states that a storage facility this large is still not a well-developed technology. There is currently not enough data and experience available to understand the possible implications of this site.

The State of Arizona near Phoenix had a lithium-ion battery fire. When first responders opened the door to the enclosure, it exploded sending several of them to the hospital. The manufacturer claims, after the investigation that it was a great learning experience, this is how they get information for the next generation.

There were at least 23 South Korean plants that caught fire including South Korea’s Chungnam Solar Station. In China an electric bus exploded due to a faulty battery. There was a lithium-ion battery explosion on board a diesel-electric ferry In Norway.

The module design is a good one, but it may have its problems too. Li-ion batteries are very sensitive to mechanical damage and water, which could lead to battery explosions and fires. This facility will be near earthquake faults. If and when a tsunami hits this area, we are all in trouble. Remember, the decision was made to move our sewer system because of a possible tsunami. This storage facility is at the same sea level as our former sewer plant.
Also, the chemicals used in Li-ion batteries are known by the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects.

I am not against the project, but because of the dangers inherent in the currently proposed location, it should be located at a safer facility, perhaps at the Diablo Canyon plant. The plant at Moss Landing is probably safe because it is not in a neighborhood (it is required to be a mile away from any residents). With local groups throughout California concerned about climate change and ocean rise, I don’t understand why these groups are not actively fighting this Morro Bay location.

Garry Johnson
Morro Bay