California seeks comment on offshore wind plans

In: Windfarms
16/03/2020
The Californian Energy Commission (CEC) is seeking input on potential offshore wind development off the Central Coast of California.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) previously launched a Call for Information and Nominations (Call) for three areas off the Californian coast, two of which are offshore the Central Coast (Morro Bay Call Area and Diablo Canyon Call Area), in October 2018.

Throughout 2019 a working group - including BOEM, the US Department of Defense (DoD), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA Sanctuaries), the CEC, and state and locally elected representatives - met to discuss a pathway forward for a viable offshore wind industry with minimal conflicts of use and impact.

Suitable areas were identified within and to the North and South of the Morro Bay Call Area. However, the Diablo Canyon Call Area is considered incompatible with current DoD operations. A further "Discussion Area" was identified within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), adjacent to the Morro Bay Call Area, but BOEM does not have authority to lease this site.
  • North Area: 149 square miles and 15 miles offshore or 125 square miles and 17 miles offshore
  • South Area: 90 square miles and 15 miles offshore or 67 square miles and 17 miles offshore
  • Discussion Area: 90 square mile area within Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

The State and BOEM are initiating a process to receive input from local, state, and federal agencies, tribal governments, stakeholders, and the public on the North and South Areas. A series of workshops will be held to allow public participation as well as an option to submit written comments until mid-May.

To kick off the proceedings a BOEM California Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force meeting was held on 9th March. Meetings will continue to be held into April with additional summer events expected to be scheduled soon.

 
  • Renewable Energy Task Force Meeting (webinar): 9th March
  • Big Sur Multi-Agency Advisory Committee: 20th March
  • Public Workshop on Central Coast: March/April 2020
  • Monterey Bay NMS Advisory Council: 17th April
  • Meetings with tribal governments, as well as meetings with specific stakeholders (fishing industry, environmental organizations, offshore wind industry, etc.): TBC

Over the next five years, the state, BOEM, and other relevant parties will work towards enabling the development of a commercial scale offshore wind project in California. BOEM is currently in the Area Identification stage of the planning process. Research activities are ongoing including metocean characterisation and visual simulations. Other studies are also underway including a North Coast Offshore Wind Feasibility Study. A statewide policy to facilitate responsible implementation of projects and develop criteria for offshore wind projects is expected by 2024.

Developing a diverse portfolio of renewable resources is a key component of California’s approach to reduce most greenhouse gas emissions from the electric sector by 2045.


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