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Virtual meeting this week on proposed Morro Bay offshore wind project

AB525 introduces more renewable energy in the form of wind developments.
Posted at 4:28 PM, Jan 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-03 22:55:58-05

There’s another opportunity for the community to comment on the potential offshore wind farm in Morro Bay.

On Wednesday, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will host a virtual meeting.

The public comment period on the potential wind energy farm in Morro Bay ends on January 11. Those comments will be used as part of an environmental review.

Hundreds of square miles off the California coast could eventually be home to offshore wind turbines.

“The proposal for the Central Coast here is about 35 miles northwest of Morro Bay and about 20 miles off the coast of Cambria,” said Eric Endersby, Morro Bay Harbor Director.

It’s proposed that roughly 400 square miles will be used for the new offshore wind technology.

“We've been supportive of one company, Castle Wind, that is proposing to put in a farm offshore here and we're also concerned about our commercial fishermen,” Endersby explained.

The wind farm would essentially result in a closure to most fishing types.

“A lot of the fish we deal with are pelagic fish that move around all the time. Some of them move great distances, some of them move small distances,” said Jeremiah O’Brien, Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Organization Vice President.

The Commercial Fishermen’s Organization says they’re concerned that only one interested company has contacted them about their concerns.

“We've been working at this for six years and at that time there was only one and now there's 30 so you can see the interest,” O’Brien explained.

Others have voiced concerns over seeing the turbines from shore.

“At night, potentially at a little bit of an elevation if you're up in the Cambria or San Simeon area, you might see them when they're lit but on a given day probably not going to see them much because of the haze in the distance,” Endersby said.

It’s possible the new wave of clean energy also proposed for Humboldt County could be able to provide enough electricity to power 1.6 million homes over the next decade.

The leases are anticipated to go out to bid this Summer or Fall, meaning it’s probably two to five years out before anything goes out in the water.

The goal for the Pacific Coast is 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030.

Click here for more information on Wednesday’s virtual meeting that begins at 9 a.m.