Three companies win offshore wind energy leases for Morro Bay area



Big changes could be coming to the coast off Morro Bay as 43 companies vied to nab one of five commercial wind farm leases in the Pacific Ocean.

The lease sale, held by the Bureau of Energy Management (BOEM) was finalized on Dec. 7. Equinor Wind US LLC, Central California Offshore Wind LLC, and Invenergy California Offshore LCC secured the three leases near Morro Bay, totaling around $425.6 million.

A SHIFT IN THE WIND After months of meetings, the lease auction for the offshore wind energy projects finally concluded. - MAP COURTESY OF BUREAU OF OCEAN MANAGEMENT
  • Map Courtesy Of Bureau Of Ocean Management
  • A SHIFT IN THE WIND After months of meetings, the lease auction for the offshore wind energy projects finally concluded.

"These leases off Morro Bay will help secure the Central Coast's dominance as a renewable energy hub for years to come—attracting new businesses and creating good-paying jobs—and I look forward to working with the lease purchasers, as well as local, state, and federal partners, to make these offshore wind projects a reality in the years ahead," Congressman Salud Carbajal said in a statement.

The 376-square-mile area off the coast of Morro Bay could produce up to 3 gigawatts of energy, providing power to 2 million homes. With the Diablo Canyon Power Plant on the verge of decommissioning within the next decade, the offshore wind energy project is expected to fill that energy gap. Former Morro Bay City Council member and current 30th District Assemblymember Dawn Addis (D-SLO) said the lease sale brings California closer to its renewable energy goals.

"In the coming years, state and regional policymakers must seriously examine how offshore wind farms affect what makes the coast great—our fisheries, public beaches, native lands, and our economy, including tourism," Addis said in a statement. "There is no doubt that, if done right, offshore wind will be a great benefit to California's push for 100 percent clean energy and to our economy. My focus will be on ensuring that our coastal communities have a voice in the process and share in those benefits."

Offshore wind projects aren't the only new changes coming to the shores of Morro Bay. Carla Wixom, Morro Bay's recently elected mayor, said she will lead the city in a new direction with the help of a new, all-female City Council.

"I'm looking forward to working collaboratively with the other four women," Wixom said. "I think that we have an opportunity to obtain some direct benefits from some of the wind energy, particularly in how that can fit into our community and help with our harbor needs and things like that." Δ


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