November 16, 2021

Interior Department: Area Offshore Central California Officially Designated for Offshore Wind Energy Development


On November 12, 2021, in furtherance of the Biden administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030, the US Department of the Interior announced its designation of the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area (WEA) offshore central California. The WEA is about 240,898 acres (376 square miles) and roughly 20 miles off the coastline. The Morro Bay WEA includes portions of the area first analyzed in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) October 2018 Call for Information and Nominations, and it also includes two extensions analyzed in BOEM’s July 2021 Call for Information and Nominations.

BOEM will now move forward with preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the National Environmental Policy Act to consider potential impacts from site characterization activities and site assessment activities within the WEA. BOEM’s initiation of the EA kicked off a 60-day comment period, which began on November 12, 2021, and will run through January 11, 2022. After considering all public input, BOEM will publish a draft EA for public comment. The EA will help BOEM decide whether to move forward with the area for a proposed lease sale.

This major step forward for offshore wind development off the Pacific coast comes only weeks after the US Department of the Interior announced milestones for offshore wind development in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Related Mayer Brown Legal Updates:

Interior Department: Three Milestones for Offshore Wind Energy Development in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico

US Department of Interior to Consider Offshore Wind in Gulf of Mexico

US Offshore Wind Goes West (Maybe)

Biden Administration Jumpstarts Offshore Wind Energy Projects to Create Jobs

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