Wind energy company to hold information session in Morro Bay

A public meeting about a proposed offshore wind project will be held Dec. 10 in Morro Bay; Trident Winds envisions installing 100 turbines about 20 miles off the coast

Anyone curious about a potential wind energy project off the coast of Morro Bay, which would be the first of its kind in the state, will have the opportunity to learn more on Dec. 10, when officials from Trident Winds hold a public forum on its proposal.

Trident hasn’t yet received any permits and is still in the initial planning and outreach phases.

“We plan to be very transparent,” said Alla Weinstein, a co-founder of the Seattle-based company. “Nobody likes surprises. We plan to talk to as many stakeholders as possible.”

The company hopes to install about 100 floating wind turbines, tethered to the ocean floor, about 20 miles offshore.

No set location has been determined yet for the units, which resemble windmills and could supply energy for about 150,000 households, Weinstein said.

Trident intends to use the city’s outfall facility at the northeast side of Morro Rock as an access point to hook up to the PG&E substation at the shuttered Morro Bay Power Plant, which is owned by Dynegy. The outfall was leased by Dynegy as part of the water cooling system for its power plant before the plant was decommissioned in 2014.

Trident envisions running transmission cable lines from the offshore turbines through the outfall pipeline to the switchyard, which is connected to the state power grid.

Dynegy, the owner of the shuttered power plant site, has met with Trident on multiple occasions. But no formal agreements between the companies on the use of the property to connect to the substation have yet been made, Weinstein said. Trident is hoping to solidify agreements from the city, PG&E and Dynegy to implement its project.

The system is years in the making, with a target date of completion in 2025, according to company officials.

“Trident Winds is offering this public information session as an early opportunity for the public to learn about the project and offer feedback,” said Sam Taylor, Morro Bay’s deputy city manager. “Once commenced, the formal permitting processes will provide extensive, detailed information and commenting opportunities.”

Business owner and coach Don Maruska, author of “How Great Decisions Get Made,” will facilitate the forum.

Trident views the project as having potential to revitalize the Morro Bay waterfront by creating jobs to support the operation and maintenance of the facility. The project also would provide a renewable source of energy, other than solar, to help diversify California’s energy portfolio.

Weinstein noted that California has a target to purchase 50 percent of the load from renewable energy sources by 2030.

The fishing industry has been critical of the potential placement of wave energy projects, with one site proposed for a location due west of the Morro Bay Harbor, and another off the coast north of Cayucos in a prime fishing area within 3 miles of shore. Trident officials have met with local fishermen to coordinate locations of their system to avoid any conflicts with fishing areas.

“We won’t put anything out there until we’ve received their input,” Weinstein said.

Trident Winds will hold an informational meeting for the public on its proposed wind energy park off the coast of Morro Bay. The meeting will be 6-8 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Veterans Memorial Building at 209 Surf St. in Morro Bay.


NOV 25 2015
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