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Study on port infrastructure needed for offshore wind farms released

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Posted at 6:48 PM, Dec 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-16 22:51:22-05

The Central Coast Emerging Industries Waterfront Siting and Infrastructure Study is now available to the public. The study released this week by REACH details the infrastructure needs of the Central Coast in order to construct an offshore wind farm.

The study stressed that this is not a final decision but rather a range of possibilities, stating, “…this report lays out what could be done, not what should be done. Our goal with this study was to present the breadth of possible options on the Central Coast for further examination.”

“So that’s what this report is. It’s just kind of a preliminary report on hey, here’s a couple of spots, this is what could be done there," said Dawn Ortiz-Legg, San Luis Obispo County District 3 Supervisor.

REACH President & CEO Melissa James said in a statement, “This is a transformative opportunity for our region and it’s fantastic to see broad-based, bipartisan support for thoughtfully welcoming this new industry into our community.”

After a thorough screening, Morro Bay, Diablo Canyon, and the Port San Luis Harbor District were chosen for further assessment to determine potential infrastructure upgrades.

“Bringing the maritime infrastructure, maritime activity back is going to be a big positive for the working waterfront,” said Eric Endersby, City of Morro Bay Harbor Director.

Ortiz-Legg says this will be a modern port that serves as a place to assemble parts for the offshore wind equipment and a place for launching and operations; however, this is just a preliminary report and they do not officially have a project, making it impossible to estimate the cost and construction timeline.

“How long that would take… it’s not quite as long as you would think, perhaps, as it would to build an actual big, cargo-related port, but we don’t know these things yet,” she said.

Ortiz-Legg says the counties of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara worked together to fund the study. She says it was in the works before the lease sale.

“It was done prior. It took that long. It’s been in the works for the last 6 to 8 months,” she said.

Endersby is excited about the possibility of a revitalized waterfront but says there is still a long road ahead.

“There’s a long way to go. So we’re probably on step two. Step one was the bidding and figuring out what it might look like and step two will be all those other add-on things, so we’re excited to be a part of that process," he said.

Those in the Port San Luis Harbor Office say they have not taken a stand on this issue yet and declined to provide any further comment.

Click here to view the full report.