offshore wind farm

FILE PHOTO: Teun van den Dries / Shutterstock

Biden Administration Designates Offshore Wind Area Off California’s Central Coast

Mike Schuler
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November 17, 2021

The Biden Administration has designated the new Morro Bay Wind Energy Area (WEA) off of California’s central coast. The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will now seek public input on potential commercial offshore wind leasing.

The Morro Bay WEA is located approximately 20 miles offshore the central California coastline and contains approximately 240,898 acres (376 square miles) that could potentially be developed for commercial offshore wind use. BOEM will now prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA), as required under the National Environmental Policy Act, to consider potential impacts, initiating a public comment period along with two virtual public meetings.

“Offshore wind presents a significant opportunity for California and our nation as we transition to clean, renewable energy. Today’s announcement represents significant progress towards that future,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “As the process continues, BOEM is committed to environmental reviews, which are critical for a strong resource management program, and to robust public engagement.”

BOEM completed its review of a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) for the Vineyard Wind project earlier this year and is currently reviewing ten additional COPs. Moreover, BOEM plans to review at least an additional five COPs by 2025, for a total of at least 16 COP reviews representing more than 19 GW of clean energy.

The Morro Bay WEA was designated after extensive collaboration with other federal agencies and the State of California as well as engagement with ocean users, Tribes, local communities, and the public. It is located adjacent to the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary along California’s central coast.

The 60-day public comment period will begin on November 12, 2021 and will extend through 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on January 11, 2022. BOEM will hold two virtual public meetings during this time.

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