San Luis Obispo County is now on record supporting federal and state initiatives to develop a wind farm off the coast of Morro Bay.
On June 22, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution backing the clean energy plans, a move that will signal the county’s interest in receiving funds to conduct local feasibility and impact studies, officials said.
ENERGY PLANS A federal plan to open up the coast of SLO County for wind energy development has the support of the SLO County Board of Supervisors.
“The funds are there now to have these feasibility studies,” 3rd District Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg said. “We need to get into the mix.”
Passed on a 4-0 vote, the resolution registered the county’s support for offshore wind, advocated for state and federal funding to study what it’d take to create a “clean energy port” in SLO County, and called for an analysis of economic impacts to the commercial fishing industry.
It comes just a few weeks after federal and state authorities unveiled a new agreement on plans to develop a 399-square-mile wind farm off the coast of Morro Bay, with the potential to produce 3 gigawatts of energy.
According to the resolution, an offshore wind farm could create about 12,000 construction jobs over five years and up to 650 operations and maintenance jobs annually.
The resolution also recognized the importance of the commercial fishing industry to the Central Coast—and its vulnerability to any offshore wind development, a response to recent criticism from fishing groups about their lack of input or consideration.
"The Central Coast commercial fishing fleet contributes to the economy, quality of life, and culture of the region, the county commits to collaborate with the fleet regarding policies that may affect commercial fishing,” it reads.
Fifth District Supervisor Debbie Arnold abstained from the vote, stating that she wasn’t yet comfortable voicing her support or opposition to the wind energy initiatives.
“To sign my name on a resolution … seems a little premature,” Arnold said. “I don’t have the information, much information at all, to be able to make that statement that I support all of these things.” ∆