Will legislation squelch local input on industrializing Port San Luis?

April 21, 2023

Site rendering of example of integration at Port San Luis. Breakwater may or may not be required.


Plans to transform Port San Luis in rural Avila Beach into an industrial port to support the offshore wind industry could move forward without local review if a bill winding through the legislation is passed.

In Dec. 2022, an auction for three offshore wind energy sites located off the coast near Morro Bay netted over $400 million. The wind turbines will float in the ocean more than 20 miles off the coast, with the electricity sent ashore via cables along the ocean floor.

The goal is to have the windmills in the water by 2030.

Multiple researchers worked together to identify preferred locations for maintenance facilities, which include Port San Luis, Morro Bay, Diablo Canyon and Vandenberg Space Force Base, according to a study released by REACH in Dec. 2022. It is likely one or more of these locations will be transformed into industrial ports where the windmills will be assembled and maintained.

Site rendering of integration at Morro Bay

SB 286, which “directs the Coastal Commission to conduct a consolidated permit for any development associated with offshore wind energy generation and transmission,” is currently being fast-tracked through the legislature.

Critics have argued that consolidated permits remove local authority and have a chilling effect on the public’s right to participate.

Generally, coastal permits are vetted at the local level through community development departments or planning departments of the cities and counties approving the projects.

Site rendering of integration at Diablo Canyon

Industrialization of the proposed Central Coast ports will have significant impacts on the local economy and its ocean-dependent ecosystems. The support systems on land will include massive piers, and could require new breakwaters and dredging.

The offshore windmills themselves are 1,000 feet tall, taller than the Golden Gate Bridge, and their platforms are the size of a baseball field.

While the report discusses providing funding to help mitigate the environment and economic issues these ports could create, locals involved in the tourism industry have grave concerns regarding transforming Morro Bay or Port San Luis into industrial ports.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

A fusion reactor makes better sense for generation electricity. A monstrous string of island wind farms aggressively violates nature and the visual future.

The wind farm will span some 400 square miles (the size of the entire L.A. basin) to produce 4,500 megawatts at peak, which is 1.8 Diablo Canyon’s. Building two nuclear plants the size of Diablo Canyon would span about 37 square miles (the size of Glendale, CA) and produce 20% more power. THIS is “advanced” technology?

Diablo sits on 750 acres, with the power plant itself on 12.5 acres of that. That’s just 1.17 square miles. We could build 10 Diablo’s, just on the Diablo land, with room left over!

What of the roads to each of these proposed sites? Every highway, road, and street will have to be strengthened, widened, and/or straightened to accommodate the extremely large, long, and heavy trucks needed to bring in the massive amounts and sizes of building materials, not only for the windmills, but for the construction of the facility too?

The Embarcadero is landfill. It wasn’t there before WWII, and increased for the power plant. How deep and wide will the channel have to be dredged, constantly, in order to float these stupid structures out one of the most dangerous harbor mouths on the west coast?.

Where are the environmental screamie meemies that protested Diablo, but are fighting to see a structure 3 times larger in the same place, with a breakwater 5 times larger than the one they currently whine is killing sea life?

How much of the hillside at Harford point, will have to be carved away to make the road? That hill is always on the cusp of collapsing now! How much larger and wider will San Luis Bay Dr. be to handle the heavy traffic? How large a bridge must be built to get over the Avila Lagoon? What of the annual Whale dinner party in San Luis Bay, as they eat their fill of fish? How will this massive, noisy, dirty, oily facility NOT dissuade this much loved migration? I also notice Smith Island is missing in the rendering. Now we approve of the elimination of coastal islands, not to mention history?

The very same people touting the love and joy of these windmills, are the very same people who laid down on the road to stop Diablo, and complained for decades about the Duke plant!

What of the roads to each of these proposed sites? Every highway, road, and street will have to be strengthened, widened, and/or straightened to accommodate the extremely large, long, and heavy trucks needed to bring in the massive amounts and sizes of building materials, not only for the windmills, but for the construction of the facility too?

Ha, sure because roads are the only way to get materials to a port… Ever consider it would be much easier and cost effective to use ships to transport large items to a port. You know, the vessels that travel over water and not roads? Luckily they have smarter people in charge of this effort. If they were able to get the materials onsite to build two massive nuclear reactors, I think they can handle windmills blades.

And related to your last statement: The very same people against this wind project were also for the construction of Diablo Canyon and all the oil platforms off the coast. How interesting!

i support this because it will bring down unhinged property values and housing costs while increasing jobs.

This is great!! Hundreds of new jobs, a richer market to support the new employers, lots of new infrastructure. This will bring a glut of renewable electricity which will provide cheaper energy to locals and maybe even power desalination facilities that could lift the water shortages that have always stunted growth. Let’s hope this development proceeds ASAP.

Right. This is great. Pollution and destruction of our offshore waters, the killing of marine life including whales, and turning our beautiful coastal communities into ugly industrial complexes.

L.B what you smoking this will bring none of what you say! No way your energy bill will go down and it will cost more to build and run these windmills than it’s worth. So when the Government wants something the Coastal Commission jumps thru hoops to get it passed but if the average citizen wants just to build a house on his coastal property he gets the run around. Typical government hand shakes

I am afraid it is you who is smoking something quite foul. It’s the government who stamps out commercial/industrial development, entry level new housing and mixed land use, the standard procedure is to tie up the free market in years of environmental review and petty public comment. No more! We’re going to build things in this country again! Get these sticks out of their mud.

In saying that the government stamps out development while tying up freedoms, where’s the coastal commission on this?

If it was and individual trying build a house on his property along the coast, this very same coastal commission that’s fast-tracking this process, WOULD tie up this individual for years with costly environmental regulation procedures, which are very unfair in regards with time and expenses until they give up or make it almost impossible. This same coastal commission is looking the other way as our pristine coastline and marine wildlife will be compromised greatly for this massive environmental pollution. In this case, the unelected coastal commission have failed in their duties by selling out the votes to other selective environmentalist groups.

Simple. No more coastal commission, abolish the group. You get your coastal mansions, I get my industrial port development. If it’s really going to do something bad to the environment I’m sure the EPA or some state agency will pipe up. The default should be to allow to build in this country.

“petty public comment” So, just silence the citizens and let the authorities decide what is best? Is that really what you are saying here? Or perhaps you want all contention to free-market development removed. Is that it?

Mainly the latter. Public review ties up everything for years and can stop all development just cause a few people don’t like what someone else is doing with their property. Also the other unfortunate truth is that public comment is rarely representative – just a voice for the already loudest. Working families don’t have time to attend these meetings and make a hobby out of berating project planners. I’d be far happier considering the skeptical opinions of a scientific survey of the community.

The Coastal Commision wants to stop cars from driving on the beach, citing environmental concerns. Yet, you say the CC would embrace this massive breach of waters, and the carving of the bluffs, to build giant polluting structures that will fail (they all have) to produce the energy they are promised to create?

I’m confident that environmental considerations and cost-benifits are being made. Also beaches are for people, I don’t know why you’d want some drunk valley tourist tearing up the sand in their ugly car.

I believe, you just made my point.