Biden Administration backs offshore wind farm near Morro Bay

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

The Biden Administration announced Tuesday it has launched an effort to advance two wind energy projects off the coast of California, one of which is located near Morro Bay.

Currently, California does not have any offshore wind farms. A new agreement, though, between the federal government, state officials and the offshore wind industry is expected to change that.

The federal Department of the Interior, in coordination with the Department of Defense, identified a 399-square-mile area northwest of Morro Bay as a location that will support three gigawatts of offshore wind, according to a White House statement. The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management plans to offer a lease sale within a 399-square-mile zone as soon as early 2022, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office.

In addition to the proposed Morro Bay wind farm, the Biden Administration and Newsom’s office announced they are advancing a wind energy project located offshore of Humboldt County.

Castle Wind, which is a joint venture between Trident Winds and EnBW North America, is developing a proposed 1,000 megawatt, or one gigawatt, floating wind farm in the Central Coast offshore zone, which officials have dubbed the “Morro Bay 399 Area.” The Castle Wind project would consist of approximately 100 floating turbines. 

The wind energy company has been working for more than five years with commercial fishermen and other stakeholders in Morro Bay in order to advance the project. The company has already reached a mutual benefits agreement with commercial fishermen.

Following the Biden Administration’s announcement, Castle Wind released a statement applauding the efforts of the White House and the governor’s administration.

“Castle Wind stands alongside our industry partners in applauding the Biden-Harris Administration and Newsom Administration for advancing a landmark agreement to support the development of offshore wind projects in the Pacific,” Castle Wind CEO Alla Weinstein. “This historic agreement will bolster Castle Wind’s specific mission of providing lasting economic, energy and environmental benefits for California’s communities by developing a commercial scale floating offshore wind farm off the coast of Morro Bay in Central California.”

Likewise, Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal also applauded the agreement.

“It’s official: offshore wind is coming to CA!” Carbajal wrote in a tweet. “I’ve spent years working with my Offshore Wind Working Group to bring offshore wind to the Central Coast and today’s announcement is the result of those efforts. We can tackle climate change and create good-paying jobs at the same time.”

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