Carbajal Reconvenes Offshore Wind Working Group, Secures Commitment from Navy
Washington, DC – The public comment period on proposed offshore wind development off the Central Coast has now closed and, with a new commitment from the Navy in hand, Congressman 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,” said Rep. Carbajal. “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 Rep. Carbajal and Rep. Panetta (D-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 their monthly meetings to hear public input on possible solutions that could accommodate a viable offshore wind industry on the Central Coast and meet the mission of DOD to test, train and operate. During this pause, negotiations stalled amid hesitation from the Navy.
In July, Carbajal offered an amendment during the House Armed Services Committee markup of the FY2021 National Defense Authorization Act to move the development forward in and near the Morro Bay Call Area and get negotiations back on track. Following the amendment’s passage, Carbajal secured a written commitment from the Navy indicating a willingness to collaborate with the working group to identify an area for development that would meet energy production goals.
The letter from Navy Secretary Kenneth J. Braithwaite reads, in part, “After our discussions, I have a better appreciation for the energy challenges that lie ahead for the state of California, and your efforts to achieve sustainable energy solutions and a desire to produce three gigawatts of energy from offshore wind. I look forward to working with you to identify a solution and offering support where we can to help resolve this to all parties’ satisfaction.”
“As a veteran, I’m grateful for the Navy’s willingness to work with us on a solution that balances our national security interests and our energy needs,” said Rep. Carbajal. “Thank you to Secretary Braithwaite for taking this significant step to help the Central Coast achieve our renewable energy potential.”
Congressman Carbajal is an advocate for renewable energy development on the Central Coast and serves on the House Armed Services Committee. He represents California’s 24th Congressional District in Congress, which encompasses Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and part of Ventura County.