Seeking a long-term supply of potable water and power for current and future economic development needs, Salinas city officials are poised to enter formal talks with DeepWater Desal early next year.
On Tuesday's agenda, the City Council is to consider a five-year agreement with DeepWater Desal to explore the purchase of potable, desalinated water and power produced by a desal plant and wholesale power generator at the Moss Landing power plant site. It would be for resale through municipal utilities to new and existing businesses and residents as needed, as part of a highÐtech economic development strategy.
The council meets at 4 p.m. in the Salinas Rotunda.
City Manager Ray Corpuz said city officials have already met with DeepWater Desal representatives, including CEO Brett Constanz, and have been intrigued by the opportunities a partnership could offer in addressing water quality issues the city faces, as well as potential future water and power needs to meet demand for future business expansion, especially for high-tech energy-demanding industry.
Corpuz said city officials were impressed with DeepWater Desal's regional approach, encompassing the entire Monterey Bay region.
A staff report said the talks would focus on establishing potential water and power purchase agreements and conducting a feasibility analysis of everything from future water and power needs and financial study to the potential involvement of the city's two current municipal water providers.
The talks don't commit the city to spending any money or supporting any specific project, and any further agreements would need to be approved by the council.
Corpuz said the talks over future water and power needs fit into the city's new Steinbeck Innovation Cluster project, announced by exiting Mayor Dennis Donohue last week, especially under the heading of aquaculture development.
Donohue said talks have been under way for a couple of months, and he predicted that the "dialogue" over the area's water and power issues was about to broaden. and the area's largest city needs to be involved.
"I think we're headed toward a global look at water," Donohue said. "There are exciting opportunities in wastewater and energy, and we should be at the forefront."
MayorÐelect Joe Gunter, who will be sworn in at the start of Tuesday's meeting, said city officials are "thinking a little out of the box here; we have to think about the future."
DeepWater Desal has reportedly been working with the Novato-based firm G3 Power Systems on a cloud service center proposal as part of its Central Coast Regional Water project at Moss Landing. The center would be co-located with the desal plant at the Dynegy power plant site to take advantage of what DeepWater Desal described as an "energy-efficient, low-carbon-footprint, cold-water-cooling, electrical power, Internet connectivity, and centralized location between Silicon Valley and Southern California."
The center and desal plant would create high-quality jobs on site and at a data-storage hardware manufacturing and assembly plant in Salinas, said DeepWater Desal's proposal, and would attract new "cloud services" companies to the area as a result of access to "bulk power purchase clout and a new high-quality water supply."
The desal firm, which has proposed selling desalinated water to California American Water for the Peninsula, recently announced plans to relocate its proposed desal plant to the Dynegy power plant site from the original Capurro Ranch site. The proposed desal plant would rely on source water from deep beneath the surface of the Monterey Bay, theoretically reducing the damage to marine organisms.
Jim Johnson can be reached at 753-6753 or firstname.lastname@example.org