West Coast
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Views wanted on plan for offshore wind farms along San Luis Obispo County's coast

A federal agency is currently taking public comment on plans to lease areas off California’s coast to wind energy development. Proposed for areas of the ocean roughly 20 miles offshore, the wind farms would consist of dozens of connected floating turbines generating electricity, conveyed to shore—and the energy grid—via a seafloor cable.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management—also known as BOEM—is an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior, and is in charge of leasing America’s federal coastal waters, whether it’s for petroleum oil and gas exploration, or renewable energy projects.

After consulting with the military and various industry stakeholders, BOEM and the California Energy Commission have released draft maps of potential lease areas off California’s coast that possess the necessary conditions to support large-scale wind farms.

Offshore of the state’s roughly 840 miles of coastline, there are just three areas where the wind blows with enough consistency and speed for such farms. Two are off San Luis Obispo County’s coast, one near the soon-to-be-decommissioned Diablo Canyon Power Plant and the other off the coast of Morro Bay. The third is Humboldt County near Eureka.

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