U.S. Navy may be warming to Central Coast offshore wind energy development

Source: By Greta Mart & Logan Kimball, KCBX • Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2019

A private company is seeking to build an offshore wind farm near Morro Bay using floating turbines.

Recently there’s been behind-the-scenes movement in the effort to bring offshore wind energy development to the Central Coast.

Local, federal and state politicians last week held a private meeting at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert McMahon. They were there to discuss proposed offshore wind energy; ever since the company Trident Winds — now named Castle Wind — proposed building a wind farm off the coast of Morro Bay in 2015, the Department of Defense has resisted. It says the areas eyed for offshore wind farms could interfere with military training areas.

Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal convened the meeting. He said he’s working to change the military’s stance by finding a balance between the need for national security and renewable energy development.

“What transpired [at the recent meeting] is that the Navy expressed to us their good faith effort, and their willingness to explore how we might be able to reach common ground in achieving these two objectives,” Carbajal said.

The areas under consideration are as large one hundred square miles of ocean and could potentially interfere with military testing currently conducted off the coast of California. Cabajal is in favor of offshore wind energy development, and said he is optimistic the Department of Defense is moving in the right direction.

“It’s going to require more planning, and more thoughtful consideration, stakeholders working together…but this was an extremely positive step forward, in light of the past that wasn’t as promising,” Carbajal told KCBX News Tuesday, adding the Navy has committed to being part of a working group to re-examine offshore wind energy proposals on the West Coast over the next month and a half.