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City of Morro Bay seeking answers on nearby offshore wind project

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Posted at 10:29 PM, Apr 13, 2023

City officials in Morro Bay say they have some concerns about an offshore wind project planned off the north coast of San Luis Obispo County.

The offshore wind farm would be about 30 miles northwest of Morro Bay, but the project could have direct impacts on city infrastructure and the environment.

Hundreds of thousand-foot-tall floating wind turbines could cover hundreds of square miles of ocean off the north coast of SLO County in the coming years.

“The city very much is concerned and wants to be better educated about the potential effects or impacts on the city and on the harbor,” said Morro Bay Interim City Manager Greg Carpenter.

The city of Morro Bay is now taking action to get answers about the project and address any concerns local residents have.

“There are concerns that the project could affect the quality of life, the character of the city, the city’s waterfront,” explained Carpenter.

The Morro Bay City Council is asking to take part in local, state, and federal regulatory meetings about offshore wind.

The resolution passed this week also calls for regularly updating the public about the status of the project.

“I think it’s gonna be great. Anything we can do to get the pipelines out of the area and get energy from wind and natural things is gonna be better for everyone,” said Morro Bay Resident Chris Frith.

Not everyone is happy with the proposal.

Some welcome an extra source of clean energy while others are worried about impacts to the marine environment and the local fishing industry.

“We got a humpback highway right outside Morro Bay. We have tons of mammals out there and we don’t know what’s going to happen to them,” said Tom Hafer, President of the Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Organization.

The giant wind turbines will likely be visible along parts of the north coast.

“You’re gonna be able to see that really good from Cape San Martin and the lighthouse. It’s gonna be an eyesore,” added Hafer.

Others hope the project will make clean energy out of an abundant source of wind.

“Wind’s always gonna be around, it’s always right here,” said Frith. “Everything we get and do with this planet, we gotta take care of it.”

The city is hoping to gather more information about the project while weighing both sides of the offshore wind debate.

“We want to be better informed; we want to understand what the project is about. We want to be able to inform our community,” explained Carpenter.

The project is in its early phases, but wind turbines could be in the water by 2030.