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Offshore wind turbine project near Morro Bay moving forward

Posted at 10:38 PM, Oct 11, 2018

One day you could see floating wind turbines off the Central Coast, a proposal that has been brewing since 2015.

Thursday’s informational meeting is still just the beginning of what will be a long process before wind turbines are placed 30 miles off shore, providing the community of Morro Bay more than just renewable energy. But there are plenty of hurdles ahead.

The roughly 100, 700-foot structures would be anchored, but float 30 miles northwest off the coast of Morro Bay.

“Big structures, but they also generate a lot of energy,” said Alla Weinstein, Trident Winds CEO.

Castle Wind, as the project is called, could generate up to 1,000 megawatts for over 300,000 households, according to the project leaders.

“If we can generate that much energy using less than 100 turbines, that’s pretty darn good,” Weinstein said.

Dozens of residents listened to the presentation, spearheaded by Seattle-based company Trident Winds Inc. and EnBW from Germany, outlining the goal of the project and exactly where the farm would sit.

The economic impact to Morro Bay could also be larger than projected. Castle Winds could generate 45 to 75 local jobs with pay on par with Diablo Canyon.

“Our goal is to employ local people,” said Maren Raubenheimer, EnBW’s Conceptional Offshore Manager.

There are still unknowns to the project that is years away.

“Now the discussion of offshore winds is at a very high level and it is up to us to demonstrate what it can do,” Weinstein said. But there is also optimism among residents.

“The questions have shown there is good interest in it,” said Ruth Ann Angus, a writer and photographer in town. “Everyone is going to have a chance to have their say, and that’s important to the people of Morro Bay.”

It will be a mountain to climb on this project, which includes plenty of red tape such as 33 permits and licenses from the federal, state, and local level that need to be acquired.

The companies will be hosting a similar public session in Cambria Friday in the Veteran’s Memorial building from 7 to 9 p.m.

You can read more about there the “mutual benefits agreement intended to minimize the impacts a future offshore wind project on the local commercial fishing industry” here.

Clarification: An earlier version of the story stated Trident Winds is also from Germany. It is a Seattle-based company. The story has been updated to reflect the change.