Environment

Hundreds of wind turbines could sprout off SLO County. Here’s how to learn about the plan

A wind turbine 20 kilometers off the coast of Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan. California ocean energy officials are considering the possibility of installing offshore wind farms along the Central Coast.
A wind turbine 20 kilometers off the coast of Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan. California ocean energy officials are considering the possibility of installing offshore wind farms along the Central Coast. Associated Press

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will host a meeting in San Luis Obispo this week to share information on the possibility of offshore wind developments along the California coast.

This includes plans to add hundreds of 700-foot-tall floating turbines on sites off Diablo Canyon and Piedras Blancas.

The meeting is Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. at The Monday Club, 1815 Monterey St.

According to a BOEM news release, the department published a call for information and nominations on Oct. 19, asking for public input on the potential for offshore wind energy developments in three “call areas”: the two on the Central Coast, and another in Northern California off Humboldt County.

The BOEM is also receiving nominations and applications for commercial wind energy leases in these areas.

Likely to be a topic of discussion will be Morro Bay’s recent agreement with Castle Wind LLC, to support the company’s plans to generate approximately 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy with an offshore wind project off San Simeon.

The agreement, approved by the Morro Bay City Council on Nov. 29, grants an exclusive option to Castle Wind to lease the city’s outflow tunnel to set up a grid connection at the Morro Bay substation.

The city and Castle Wind — a joint venture between Trident Winds Inc. and EnBW North America Inc. — calls for a “coordinated effort to maximize the economic and other benefits during development, construction and operation of the offshore wind farm,” according to a Dec. 3 Castle Wind news release.

“Castle Wind commits to create a wide range of economic opportunities for the Morro Bay community if it secures a lease for the project from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management,” the release says. “These commitments include hiring qualified local residents, establishing internships and trainee programs at local schools and universities during construction and operation of the wind farm, establishment of a maintenance and monitoring facility for the project at the Morro Bay harbor, and promotion of local businesses for over 30-year project life.”

The plans aren’t final, of course — they’re pending decision by the BOEM.

At Thursday’s meeting, the BOEM will discuss the planning timeline for possible developments and additional opportunities for public participation.

It will also take public comment and answer questions of state agency representatives and other BOEM California Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force members.

More information on the Task Force and potential wind developments can be found at https://www.boem.gov/California/.

See how wind turbines capture and convert wind energy to generate clean electricity.

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Kaytlyn Leslie writes about business and development for The Tribune. Hailing from Nipomo, she also covers city governments and happenings in the South County region, including Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. She joined The Tribune in 2013 after graduating from Cal Poly with her journalism degree.


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