Notes from our meeting with BOEM's Task Force to site new Wind Farms in our waters.

BOEM's map of potential wind power with marine sanctuary zones in turquoise. The first area of commercial interest is the SW corner of the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary where the orange hotspot is.

BOEM's map of potential wind power with marine sanctuary zones in turquoise. The first area of commercial interest is the SW corner of the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary where the orange hotspot is.

On March 15 2017 5:30pm in the Community Room, CFSB had a meeting between Fisheries reps and some members of the BOEM California Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force.

Below are notes by Kim Selkoe about the meeting *On 4/6/17 I updated these notes with corrections and additions aftervetting them for factual accuracy by BOEM,

Fisheries Reps in attendance: Chris Voss, Kim Selkoe, Bernard Friedman, Brian Colgate, Max Shearer, Laszlo Nemeth, Craig Brooker,

Task Force Reps in attendance: Donna Schroeder (BOEM), Chris Potter (Ocean Protection Council), Eli Harland (California Energy Commission), Eric Wilkins (CA Department of Fish and Wildlife), Susan Zaleski (BOEM), Janet Thomson (Kearns & West facilitator), Zach Barr (Kearns & West note taker)

The meeting started with some facts and figures by the Task Force:

Chris Potter, State Natural Resources Agency and Ocean Protection Council:

·         Governor Brown created a target to get 50% of California’s energy from renewables by 2030 and a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels by 2030

·         In Oct. 2016 in Sacramento, at the BOEM California Task Force meeting, a process was announced for planning offshore renewables.

·         First phase is focused on data gathering and outreach

Susan Zaleski, BOEM:

Process outline:

·         Data gathered on how and where to plan floating wind installations will be presented to the Task Force on July 13th (in San Luis Obispo)

·         After that, the next phase will be to put out a call for lease applications for floating wind installations.

·         The earliest lease sale notice would be end of 2018, with an auction mid-2019.

·         There is then a 5 yr period granted to the lessee to do surveys to inform a construction operations plan to be submitted ~2024.

·         Earliest date of construction on the water would be 2026.

·         Approximately 30 separate agencies have permitting authority.

Current situation:

·         BOEM received 1 application for floating wind (from Trident). That triggered BOEM to look for competitive interest from other companies. One was found, and that triggered the competitive leasing process and planning for offshore wind began with the October 2016 Task Force Meeting.

o   Note that CFSB speculates that if one or both of these corporations change their minds, the process will likely evaporate until new interest is re-established.

·         Because of the depth, a floating installation is necessary.

BOEM’s ask:

·         BOEM’s goal at this point is to get input from fishermen about available data that could be helpful for planning for offshore floating wind.

o   We noted that congestion at the adjacent ports due to the wind farm’s supply boats may interfere with fisheries uses of docks.

·         Cal Fish and Wildlife presented a very coarse map of fishing pressure and solicited feedback.

o   We suggest BOEM uses VMS data instead to get better data and focus on fixed gear groundfish data especially.

Discussion Q &A:

Where will the energy ultimately be used?

·         Depending on where the installation is interconnected to the transmission grid, some or all of the energy may be consumed on a local system before excess energy moves across the State’s larger transmission grid to load centers.

Who will pay for the power generated?

·         Any load-serving entity, such as the 3 investor owned utility companies in CA would likely be the buyers of the power from the installations. They would pass on the costs to their customers.

Where is renewable energy coming from now?

·         Installations of large desert solar installations have grown rapidly in recent years and along with land based wind energy are the two main sources of CA renewable energy.

·         Rooftop solar is also spreading quickly and is ideal because there is no cost to transfer energy to the point of use.

·         Wind can be complementary to solar because in some places it tends to be available when the sun is not shining.

·         Storage of solar energy is becoming more efficient and cost–effective but the technology has yet to reach scale.

What is the State’s interest and role in this project?

·         There will be impacts under state jurisdiction. Also, the state is engaging with BOEM early in the planning process to inform future planning and decision making.  

·         Investors make the plan and take on all the risk

·         Similar to the role the state plays in issuing fishing licenses. They are not involved in the business aspects of how to make a profit or a good design.

·         The companies pursuing floating wind may have proprietary info they’ve gathered to inform their planning, just like fishermen have guarded knowledge of fishing grounds

What happens if an installation is put in and then fails or causes damage?

· Before a company can request or bid on a lease, BOEM must determine they are financially qualified. Part of the leasing process also includes the demonstration by the lessee of financial assurances (e.g. bonds) before installations are permitted so costs would be covered in case the structures would need removal. For instance, BOEM has required over $1 billion in bonds to cover decommissioning from the oil and gas leasing program.

·         Not all of the past telecom cables had a bond system and this was problematic.

Future meetings on the horizon:

·         April 13th an evening public meeting in SLO

·         May or June, another meeting in Santa Barbara

What is the size of an installation?

·         Trident is looking at a ~100 square mile area with an intent to develop ~55 square miles that would have maybe 100 turbines. Each turbine is 60-70 stories and puts out 6-8 megawatts. 1 megawatt = power for ~750 homes. So total, estimating power for 450,000 to 600,000 homes during peak output (note: wind energy is variable and will not always operate at peak output so 450,000 homes powered by the installation is on the far upper range of the load the project would serve)  The Trident proposal is the first and at this point only proposal for a large-scale floating wind installation off of the coast of California and it is likely that competing companies may use different technologies.

Why aren’t Sanctuary waters being considered?

·         BOEM has no jurisdiction in Sanctuaries. So if an installation was pursued in a Sanctuary, they would have no involvement. Bill Douros at the National Marine Sanctuary West Coast Office, has stated in public meetings that if a wind energy installation were to be sited in a future Sanctuary location, it would be grandfathered in when the Sanctuary went into effect.

What sort of plan is there for offsetting the costs and inconvenience to stakeholders to participate in this process?

·         Every port is unique, so please suggest what would work for you.

Other relevant background info:

·         An area of interest that has a good wind resource is the SE corner of the Monterey Bay NMS. It is an L-shaped zone that borders the Sanctuary.

·         Santa Rosa flats, south of Santa Rosa Island, is also an area of interest. It is attractive because models show that the development of a wind farm may be economically feasible there.

·         Floating wind turbines have been installed in several countries internationally but have not yet been installed in the U.S.

·         Ben Ruttenberg, Crow White, and Ryan Walter, professors at Cal Poly SLO has received a research contract from BOEM to

o   delineate feasible offshore renewable energy scenarios along the central coast of California

o   identify information and resources needed to evaluate and predict the impacts of potential proposals for offshore energy

o   model potential energy generation from different wind farm build out scenarios in different locations offshore central/southern California.

 Link to more information on this study:

Below are websites for the BOEM California offshore wind planning process:


Data Basin: