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EOPA California welcomes BOEM’s news that Morro Bay offshore wind leasing can move forward

by Ramon du Houx
On October 5, 2022, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the completion of its environmental review of potential impacts from offshore wind energy leasing activities in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area (WEA), located 20 miles offshore central California. EOPA CA wants the federal offshore wind goal to be increased
The first floating offshore wind prototype was successful in Maine where the first floating wind farm in America will be located. The CA coast will have floating offshore wind platforms similar to this one as most of the coast is deep water - too deep for fixed bottom turbines.

By Ramona du Houx

October 8, 2022

On October 5, 2022, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the completion of its environmental review of potential impacts from offshore wind energy leasing activities in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area (WEA), located 20 miles offshore central California.

“BOEM’s environmental review is a critical step advancing the development of offshore wind responsibly and equitably while promoting well-paying union jobs in central California. Offshore wind has the potential to be the biggest lever that we can pull to reduce our emissions, address the climate crisis, meet our energy needs, and grow our economy simultaneously. It’s poised to become a $1 trillion industry by 2040, creating thousands of good-paying jobs, providing clean renewable energy, and spurring economic growth. Elected Officials to Protect America fully supports the responsible buildout of offshore wind for America and sees it as a key component to solving the climate crisis,” said Dominic Frongillo, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA) “The federal government should increase its offshore wind permitting goal from 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind by 2035. California, with Governor Newsom’s leadership, has already adopted a goal of 25 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2045.” 

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has identified that California has a technical resource capacity of 112 gigawatts of offshore wind.  EOPA California has a letter supporting Gov. Newsom’s goals for offshore wind development signed by over one hundred elected officials across the state. 

The Biden administration’s goal for permitting is 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 from fixed bottom ocean turbines, and deploying 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind energy capacity by 2035. California is uniquely situated for floating offshore wind turbines, which will be located in deep water beyond the horizon.

The review worked in close coordination and engagement with the State of California, the Department of Defense, Tribes, ocean users, the fishing community, and coastal communities.

"Offshore wind is a tremendous opportunity for Morro Bay as it will bring good paying jobs, generate clean never-ending energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We are grateful for BOEM's thorough review. Now interested industry members and our city can move forward with confidence that offshore wind will be a reality off our coast. We look forward to the lease auction,” said Dr. John Headding, Morro Bay Mayor.

The Morro Bay WEA would produce up to 3 gigawatts of clean never-ending energy, enough to power more than one million homes. BOEM assessed potential impacts from the issuance of leases within nearly 376 square miles of the Morro Bay WEA off the coast of San Luis Obispo County. Based on the analysis, BOEM has issued a finding of no significant impacts to environmental resources. 

“We’re excited in San Luis Obispo to see Morro Bay move into the auction leasing stage on the road to develop clean, renewable offshore wind energy. This untapped resource is a game changer in the battle to free our planet from deadly fossil fuels that continue to fuel greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere,” said Heidi Harmon, former Mayor San Luis Obispo, EOPA California Chapter Leadership Council. “California is ground zero for the climate crisis with fires, unforgiving drought and heatwaves. Offshore wind will help mitigate these disasters while bringing good paying union jobs to the area. The federal government should increase its floating turbine permitting goal to give the industry and communities security in a clean energy future.”

The BOEM review considered potential environmental consequences of site characterization activities, site assessment activities and project easements associated with potential leases and related right-of-way grants for subsea cable corridors in the Morro Bay WEA.

More detailed information about the proposed leasing in the Morro Bay WEA is available on BOEM’s website at www.boem.gov/California.

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