AmericasOffshoreRenewables

BOEM environmental review gives wind leasing offshore California the green light

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed its environmental review of potential impacts from offshore wind energy leasing activities in the Morro Bay wind energy area (WEA), located 20 miles offshore central California. The environmental assessment (EA) was undertaken with close coordination and engagement with the State of California, the Department of Defense, Tribes, ocean users, including the fishing community, and coastal communities.

The final EA assesses potential impacts from the issuance of leases within nearly 240,898 acres (376 square miles) of the Morro Bay WEA off the coast of San Luis Obispo County, California. The Morro Bay WEA, if developed, could bring up to 3 gigawatts of clean energy to the grid, enough to power more than a million homes. Based on the analysis in the EA, BOEM has issued a finding of no significant impacts (FONSI) to environmental resources.

The EA considers potential environmental consequences of site characterization activities (i.e., biological, archeological, geological and geophysical surveys and core samples) and site assessment activities (i.e., installation of meteorological buoys). The EA also considers project easements associated with potential leases and related right-of-way grants for subsea cable corridors in the Morro Bay WEA.

If BOEM decides to conduct a lease sale in the Morro Bay WEA, the bureau will develop an environmental impact statement (EIS) before approving the construction of any offshore wind energy facility. That EIS would analyse the specific environmental consequences associated with the project.

BOEM published the draft EA on April 6, after seeking public input on the issues and alternatives to be considered. That publication initiated a 30-day public comment period. BOEM also held two public virtual meetings with stakeholders to obtain input.

Kim Biggar

Kim Biggar started writing in the supply chain sector in 2000, when she joined the Canadian Association of Supply Chain & Logistics Management. In 2004/2005, she was project manager for the Government of Canada-funded Canadian Logistics Skills Committee, which led to her 13-year role as communications manager of the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. A longtime freelance writer, Kim has contributed to publications including The Forwarder, 3PL Americas, The Shipper Advocate and Supply Chain Canada.
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