The Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) is preparing an Environmental Assessment pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to assess a proposed Morro Bay Wind Energy Area (MBWEA) for floating offshore wind leasing, and potentially, development activities, in federal jurisdictional waters offshore San Luis Obispo County, California (Figure 1.1). BOEM is considering two options. MBWEA Option 1 includes the original “Call Area” plus an “East Extension” and a “West Extension,” encompassing approximately 255,487 acres (1,034 km2 /399 mi2 ). MBWEA Option 1 is located approximately 27 km (17 mi) at its closest point from shore. MBWEA Option 2 also includes the original “Call Area” and only the “West Extension,” totaling around 240,898 acres (975 km2 /376 mi2 ) and located approximately 32 km (20 mi) at its closest point from shore. The MBWEA lies west of the continental shelf break on the gently sloping shelf in water depths ranging from 800 to 1,300 meters (m; 2,625 to 4,265 feet [ft]). For the purposes of this report when referring to “the MBWEA” and also when its footprint is depicted on the figures, it will encompass the area being considered under Option 1 (Figure1.1).
Following publication of the Environmental Assessment, BOEM has proposed conducting an offshore wind lease sale in fall 2022 (BOEM 2021). The California Coastal Commission, through its consultation responsibilities under Section 307 of the Coastal Zone Management Act, is to decide whether to concur with the federal consistency determination that will be prepared by BOEM as part of the issuance of the Environmental Assessment and the action to hold a lease sale along with subsequent site characterization assessments. The Coastal Commission will assess and base its decision on whether the consistency determination, as well as other information and data provided, meet the state’s enforceable policies, which are documented in Chapter 3 of the California Coastal Act of 1976.