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
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
- 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.