Renewed interest in offshore wind energy could bring site to central coast
A renewed interest in wind power comes from the Biden administration, again making a possibility of an offshore wind farm on the central coast.
This week, the Biden administration published a multi-layered plan to develop offshore wind power generation in the United States, which includes investments in port infrastructure and $ 3 billion in loans for the offshore industry.
“The President recognizes that a thriving offshore wind industry will create new jobs and economic opportunities along the Atlantic coast, in the Gulf of Mexico and in Pacific waters,” said White House press secretary , Jen Psaki.
Morro Bay Mayor John Headding said the change in rhetoric has resulted in the removal of some of the roadblocks on the way to an offshore wind turbine project on the central coast.
“We’ve been talking about it and trying to fix the issues for over five years, so I’m extremely excited not just for the state and the industry – but for Morro Bay as well, economically it’s going to be something that’s going to be quite significant,” Headding said.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management identified an area 20 to 25 miles off the coast of Morro Bay as one of two locations in California that would be ideal for this type of power generation site.
“[That’s] because the winds are blowing all the time and there is a ‘shovel ready’, as I call it, a grid connection through the Morro Bay power plant, ”Headding explained.
Several stakeholders are still trying to pinpoint an exact location, such as a chosen old site on the central coast would have hampered naval activity.
“We are in the process of finding a suitable region that combines our state’s energy needs with the region’s national security uses, including military testing and training operations. I am encouraged that the Biden administration is interested in expanding this booming industry. , which will create well-paying clean energy jobs while bringing us closer to a renewable energy future, and I will continue to work to provide offshore wind opportunities on the central coast, ”said Congressman Salud Carbajal.
Headding says power generation from turbines is expected to produce more power than Diablo Canyon.
But what does this mean for those who live off water? Headding says a company that had previously bid on the project had an agreement with local fishing groups, but that could change now that bids for the site will increase again.
“It would be up to any company entering the tendering process to discuss with the local fishing industry the possible mitigation of impacts for the development of the wind farm,” said Headding.
A spokesperson for Representative Carbajal’s office said:
Representative Carbajal will continue to work with businesses and federal agencies to ensure we mitigate impacts on local fishermen, as well as other ocean stakeholders.
The mayor says there are 11 companies that have submitted documents to bid on the area identified by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for an offshore site on the central coast.
The auction process for the bids could begin later this year.
Headding says that excess energy produced by the turbines could potentially be stored in the proposed battery-powered energy storage plant which seeks to pave the way at the site of the former Morro Bay power plant next year.