California officials are urging the Navy to show more flexibility as to where it would accept the development of wind farms off the state’s coast, after the department indicated offshore turbines along Southern California and the Central Coast would conflict with testing and training activities. The Navy would consider wind energy development off the coast of Northern California, however. The Pentagon doesn’t have the authority to restrict offshore wind projects in federal waters; that power rests with the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). But that agency will consider input from DOD before approving development sites, reported the San Diego Union-Tribune.
One project off the coast of Eureka in Northern California is going ahead at this point, but another off the Central Coast led by Trident Winds is in “a holding pattern.” Following discussions among the state, DOD and BOEM, defense officials next will meet with developers interested in building turbines off the Central Coast to reach a consensus on a way forward. “We are in ongoing discussions, not only with Trident, but with other developers,” said Steve Chung, the Navy’s encroachment program director for the Southwest region, but the Central Coast “is still red in our assessment.”
Offshore wind development from the Central Coast south to the Mexican border would conflict with the Point Mugu Sea Range north of Los Angeles and the Southern California Range Complex. That 120,000-square-mile complex provides space for training, equipping and maintaining combat-ready forces, “supporting the largest concentration of naval forces in the world,” Chung said. The area also is used by the Marine Corps, the Air Force and, to a lesser extent, the Army.