Carbajal Requests Briefing from Navy On Central Coast Wind Exclusion Areas

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San Luis Obispo, February 1, 2018 | Tess Whittlesey (3234209237) | comments

San Luis Obispo, CA – Today, Rep. Salud Carbajal, member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), requested a briefing from the U.S. Navy on wind exclusion areas off the Central and Southern Coast of California. The Navy recently released a map designating roughly 36,000 square miles of ocean on the Outer Continental Shelf, as incompatible with Navy operational activities. Included in the excluded area, were areas of interest for proposed wind-energy projects identified by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) joint offshore wind task force.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) began planning for the potential leasing of ocean tracts for wind energy projects in 2016, and during the process requested the Navy’s input. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), areas off the west coast of the United States hold great renewable energy potential. Carbajal’s letter asks for briefing updates regarding potential “site-specific” exclusions regarding study areas off the Central Coast.

As the decommissioning of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant (DCPP) moves forward, Carbajal has prioritized efforts to mitigate the economic impact to the region. In Congress, Carbajal has advocated for renewable energy incentives and job retraining programs to offset the loss of jobs and revenue on the Central Coast.

A copy of the letter can be found here and the full text is below:

 

The Honorable Richard V. Spencer

Secretary of the Navy

1000 Navy Pentagon, Room 4D652

Washington, DC 20350-1000

 

Dear Secretary Spencer:

 

I am writing to you today in regard to proposed offshore wind projects off of Morro Bay, California.  It is my understanding that the Navy recently published a map which shows that the Morro Bay project is located within the Department of the Navy’s “wind exclusion areas” indicating that it would be “not compatible” with Navy operations. 

 

As a former Marine and member of the House Armed Service Committee, I understand the importance of taking the necessary steps to prevent and minimize any impacts on military operations.  I am aware that the Department of the Navy is currently conducting a “site-specific” study to determine whether there are locations that may have previously been designated as “not compatible” which can now accommodate wind-energy projects.   I would like to request a briefing that addresses the following:

 

  • When the Navy plans to finish the site-specific study;
  • What factors the Navy considers when designating a “wind exclusion area”;
  • Why the Morro Bay area, specifically, was designated as a “wind exclusion area”; and
  • Which current and future operations could be impacted by pursuing a wind-energy project off Morro Bay.

 

As I am sure you will understand, this issue is of great concern to the Central Coast of California, as it will further ensure energy security for the region.  Furthermore, the project is expected to create a significant number of jobs and result in other economic benefits for the community.  As the Representative for California’s 24th Congressional District, I urge the Department of the Navy to work with all stakeholders to create more opportunities to advance energy security. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to your response.

 

Sincerely,

 

Salud O. Carbajal

Member of Congress

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