Morro Bay | Credit: Keith Hamm (File)

Congressmember Salud Carbajal announced that a deal had been reached that will set aside 399 square miles of ocean 17-40 miles off the coast of Morro Bay that can be leased out for offshore wind development. According to a statement issued by Carbajal, the site could produce as much as 3 gigawatts of energy, which, he claimed, would make the site the largest floating offshore wind project in the United States.

Wind energy advocates have long salivated over the offshore prospects offered by the Central Coast, known in some quarters as the Saudi Arabia of wind energy. To get this far, Carbajal had to work a deal agreeable to Carmel Valley Congressmember Leon Panetta, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Navy, the California Energy Commission, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The next step, according to Carbajal’s statement, is environmental review and public comment.

Carbajal expressed hope that the new wind development could help offset the loss of jobs posed by the imminent closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant at Avila Beach while contributing to the clean energy inventory needed for California to achieve state clean energy goals designed to offset the impacts of climate change.

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