top of page

The Full Story

Is it Safe?

Lithium Ion Batteries (LIBs) are inherently unsafe in populated areas. They are known

to spontaneously combust, creating difficult to extinguish fires and releasing highly

toxic, life-threatening emissions, including chloride and hydrogen fluoride gases,

and hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids.

The proposed Lithium Ion BESS on Morro Bay’s busy waterfront will create an

unacceptable safety risk to people, animals, and the environment at large, including

Morro Bay’s National Estuary.

  • Hazards of LI batteries are well known.

  • Impossible to fully predict, control for or mitigate fires, explosions, toxic gases and other hazards.

  • Limited ability to evacuate during an emergency as evidenced during the February 2023 storms when Morro Bay’s evacuation routes were inaccessible due to flooding and debris.

  • Spent batteries continue to present widespread risks to humans, animals and the environment.

Click here to watch the emissions of a single AA battery when the lithium-ion

reacts to water. 

1. An Arizona Corporation Commission report (2019), drafted in response to a serious incident at a Lithium Ion battery storage facility in Flagstaff found that: 

  •  LI facilities in populated areas create “unacceptable risks”

  •  LI facilities pose a serious risk of a large-scale “explosion (that could) potentially level buildings at some distance from the battery facility site” and result in “catastrophic consequences”

  •  Hydrogen fluoride was released and is “extremely poisonous”.

  •  “Facilities need to be built in isolation, far from everything else…”

The report concludes by saying, “All of this points to unacceptable hazards and risks

presented by the current utility scale lithium ion battery systems using chemistries

that could release hydrogen fluoride in the event of a fire or explosion.”

2. Two separate Lithium Ion Battery facilities in Moss Landing, California

experienced serious incidents in September 2021 and February 2022

resulting in:  

  • Total shut-down of Hwy 1 for more than 12 hours

  • Businesses not permitted to open

  • Shelter-in-place order for nearby residents who were advised to shut doors and windows and turn off ventilation systems

  • Hazardous Smoke advisory

  • Completely burned batteries

  • Unknown, lingering health/environmental impacts

Thankfully the Moss Landing facilities are not located in environmentally sensitive

areas, are relatively isolated and are outside of population centers. Total population of

Moss Landing is less than 300 people.

3. An Energy and Environmental Science report (2021) focusing on spent LI  batteries reports on: 

  •  Significant environmental hazards of live and spent batteries

  •  Global list of incidents

  • “Emergence of chemicals structurally similar to chemical warfare agents.”

  • Spent LIBs “would impose an enormous threat to the natural environment and human health” due to hazardous materials

  • No universal standards for disposal

The report concludes that “improper or careless processing and disposal of spent

batteries leads to contamination of the soil, water, and air. The toxicity of the battery

material is a direct threat to organisms on the various trophic levels as well as direct

threats to human health. Identified pollution pathways are via leaching, disintegration

and degradation of the batteries, however violent incidents such as fires and

explosions are also significant.”

Read About:

"Lithium-ion batteries are fueling the fire on a burning cargo ship full of Porsches"

Click here

"Race to salvage sinking cargo ship carrying 3,000 vehicles including 350 Mercedes as it burns out of control in North Sea after fire 'caused by electric car'"

Click Here

What About Security?

There is an increasing trend of domestic and international terrorists attacking power

structures in the United States. LI BESS presents a very real security threat to Morro

Bay and neighboring communities.

According to the Arizona Corporation Commission Report, the energy stored at a

600MW facility, like the one proposed for Morro Bay, is equal to 516 tons of

TNT. If the proposed plant did suffer an explosion, it could level Morro Bay High

School located only 1520 away!

For these reasons, the proposed Lithium Ion BESS on Morro Bay’s busy waterfront will

create an unacceptable SECURITY risk for everyone living or visiting the City of

Morro Bay as well as neighboring communities.

  •  Impossible to fully secure and protect the proposed BESS in the heart of Morro Bay’s tourist district with 100,000’s of visitors per year.

  • Increasing use of drones to attack critical infrastructure.

  • Puts a target on Morro Bay for those wishing to do harm.

  • Due to this threat, BESS must be built in a non-populated area.

1. US Army Report (2022) on “The Role of Drones in Future Terrorist Attacks” claims that: 

  • Drones will be the “weapon of choice for future terrorists”

  • Ease of using drones for terrorist attacks increasing rapidly

  • “Countering and defeating terrorists’ drones already problematic (and) will only become more difficult”.

The report concludes that “The ability of a small group or individual to conduct

multiple simultaneous attacks, at a relatively low cost and with significant standoff

distance, will lead to the use of drones as a primary tactic of future terrorist attacks.

The advantage is with the attacker; expensive counter systems for drones can be

defeated with the addition or removal of specific onboard systems or a change in


2. Energy Research and Social Science (December 2021) article asking “Why Do Terrorists Target the Energy Industry?” 

  •  Review of numerous, global attacks against energy infrastructure

  •   “Evidence shows that energy facilities have been frequently attacked by terrorists” around the world

  • “Energy is the most important non-human terrorist target…”

  •  Increasing ease of launching attacks on energy facilities using drones

The report clarifies that “terrorists have an incentive to attack energy facilities” and

that “recent cases suggest that terrorist attacks on energy facilities become easier to

execute because of the use of drones.”

3. Time Magazine (January 23) “Authorities Fear Extremists Are Targeting the US Power Grid”: 

  • Security officials warn that electricity infrastructure “presents a growing target for extremists and saboteurs”.

  •  “More than 100 reported incidents in the first 8 months of 2022”

  • Federal officials and security analysts warned of “credible, specific plans” to attack the power grid in 2022


Ongoing and heightened concern among officials across the county regarding the

increasing sophistication of attacks against energy infrastructure including those

perpetuated in California, Washington State, North Carolina and Florida.

bottom of page