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.”
experienced serious incidents in September 2021 and February 2022
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.”
"Lithium-ion batteries are fueling the fire on a burning cargo ship full of Porsches"
"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'"
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.
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
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.”
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.