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CA - Navy Back on Board With Offshore Wind Near Morro Bay, SLO County Congressman Says

Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal announced last week that the public comment period on a proposed offshore wind development off the Central Coast has now closed — and with a new commitment from the Navy in hand.

With the Energy Commission comment period closed, Carbajal has called on the Offshore Wind Working Group to reconvene and move forward with negotiations on a leasing area for the development.

“Now that the public comment period is over and the Navy has indicated their commitment to work with us to identify a region that meets our energy needs while balancing the readiness needs of the military, I’ve called the Offshore Wind Working Group together again to work toward an agreement that satisfies all parties,” Carbajal said. “I’m excited to continue our efforts to bring offshore wind energy and jobs to the Central Coast. Let’s get to work.”

The Offshore Wind Working Group was created in August 2019 and is composed of representatives from the offices of Carbajal and Rep. Jimmy Panetta of Carmel Valley, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Department of Defense (DOD), Navy, and California Energy Commission (CEC).

The working group paused its monthly meetings to hear public input on possible solutions that could accommodate a viable offshore wind industry on the Central Coast while also meeting the mission of the DOD to test, train and operate. During this pause, negotiations stalled amid hesitation from the Navy.

In recent years, the Department of Defense has offered mixed messages as to whether it would support wind energy projects off Morro Bay, reminding proponents and developers it considers these waters as critical for Navy exercises. Last winter, the DOD seemed to suggest it would cooperate with a state working group to find locations that would be acceptable only to reject any deal a few months later.

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