The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) at the US Department of Interior on Wednesday said it has completed its environmental review of potential impacts from leasing activities, such as biological and geological surveys, in the up-to-3-GW Morro Bay Wind Energy Area (WEA) offshore central California.
The agency has issued a finding of no significant impacts (FONSI) in a step towards a potential lease sale and wind development in the area, which is located 20 miles (32 km) off the coast. Due to the depth of the Pacific Ocean floor, California will be home to floating wind platforms.
In May, the US Department of the Interior proposed a lease sale that could unlock more than 4.5 GW of wind capacity off the California coast. This is the first offshore wind lease sale proposed on the US west coast and includes three proposed lease areas in the Morro Bay WEA and two proposed lease areas in the Humboldt WEA off northern California. BOEM completed its environmental review of offshore wind leasing in the Humboldt WEA in May.
BOEM announced an intention to prepare an environmental assessment (EA) for the Morro Bay WEA in November 2021 and it published the draft EA in April this year. If there is a lease sale, BEOM will develop an environmental impact statement (EIS) before approving the construction of any offshore wind energy project in the area, the agency specified.
The Biden administration has set a target of 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and a recent objective of 15 GW of floating offshore wind energy capacity by 2035.
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