Will Morro Bay wind farms be the demise of Port San Luis?

June 25, 2023

Robert Sidenberg


I heard about the proposed Morro Bay Offshore Wind Farm awhile back but didn’t really think too much about it. It would supposedly be out of sight and didn’t seem to have any affect on my life since I launch my fishing boat out of Port San Luis.

But now I understand there is a plan to industrialize Port San Luis to be used as a base to assemble, operate, and maintain the 1,000 feet wind turbines for the wind farm and for the Vandenberg Space Force base to barge in rockets and components that are too large to travel by land. This plan would involve major dredging to accommodate large ships, cranes and other heavy equipment. Additional concrete piers will be constructed requiring under water blasting.

I am not sure this is such a good idea. I began to do some research on wind farms. This developed into hours and hours of digging through material. What I have learned is quite alarming.

About wind energy

When looking at the actual science, producing electricity via wind turbines appears to be inefficient and expensive when compared to other options. It is a bit difficult to understand the real cost of electricity produced by wind turbines since wind is not constant. It doesn’t blow all the time nor does it always blow at the same speed. Traditional methods of producing electricity that use fuel such as natural gas or nuclear are more constant and easier to calculate.

One wind turbine operating at 100% efficiency, the maximum power that could be generated is approximately 56 watts per square foot of turbine swept area. For an offshore wind turbine farm to deliver 2,300 million watts equal to the same amount of energy supplied by the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant, would require wind turbines covering a 1,072 square mile area along our coastline. Diablo Canyon covers only .02 square miles and produces 8.6% of California’s total electrical generation.

But wind turbines do not operate at 100% efficiency. They operate at 35% to 45% efficiency due to the intermittency and variation of the wind. The effect of the enhanced fluctuations is dramatic.

In a 2023 research paper published in the United Kingdom titled “The Inadequacy Of Wind Power,” the author, Professor of Physics, Wade Allison writes, “The generation of electricity by wind tells a disappointing story. The political enthusiasm and the investor hype are not supported by the evidence.”

When analyzing data of the total European Union and United Kingdom wind energy generated each day in 2021, with the installed nominal generating capacity of 236 GW, the highest output actually reached was only one day at 103 GW. Recorded data of wind power generated by all United Kingdom offshore wind farms for March 2022, shows during some periods it rose to the nominal installed capacity of 10 GW.

However, for eight days of the month it, averaged no more than 1.2 GW. So 8.8 GW was not produced during that time. That much lost energy equals 1,600 GWh which is 1,000 times the capacity of the worlds largest grid storage battery of 1.6 GWh located at Moss Landing, California.

The idea that enough large battery storage plants can be built to store enough energy to cover the periods when enough wind isn’t blowing is not a realistic solution. We still will need traditional power plants to be running to cover the fluctuations of the wind farms.

Generating electricity with offshore wind turbine farms does not appear to be a viable technology on its own. None of the operations in service now around the world are even close to being profitable and it appears they never will without being propped up with government subsidies and tax credits as they are today.

How easily, without pause our government gives away the peoples money, our money. Are we not being taxed enough as it is? Of course if consumers are willing to pay exceedingly high electricity rates four to five times the current rates then wind farms might be profitable at times when the wind blows. Actually if we continue down this road we will be forced to pay these rates.

In looking at other countries that have embarked on aggressive renewable “green energy” programs like wind and solar, what is happening in Germany should be a lesson to us all.

After shutting down their last remaining nuclear power plant, Germany’s economy has fallen into recession and they are facing electricity shortages and soaring prices while critical industries are leaving the country. Some suggest Germany will have to go back to nuclear if it wants to phase out all fossil fuel as wind and solar will not fully cover demand.

And in the United States, Avangrid, the developer of Massachusetts’s largest approved offshore wind project, Commonwealth Wind, is wanting to renegotiate contracts they signed with the three major utilities. The company says that due to supply constraints and rising interest rates they will need to charge more than originally agreed for their wind power for the project to be viable. That cost will of course be passed on to the consumers.

A good sound energy program should be sensible, reliable, and affordable. Offshore wind farms do not meet any of this criteria. We are already paying a lot for electricity and with the state’s plan to require all cars and homes to be electric we will certainly be paying even more.

To cover our coastline with thousands of offshore wind turbines and industrializing many of our ports, including Port San Luis, to support the wind farms is a bad idea. We are setting ourselves up for a real disaster.

We are being forced into an energy program by the state of California that very likely will leave us in a vulnerable position with electricity shortages and high consumer rates. No person or local governing body has been given a choice in the matter. The promise of good paying jobs and a boost to the local economy is being presented as a big benefit. But who really believes that?

An environmental nightmare

What about the negative impact to tourism and the loss of jobs related to it, or to the local commercial and sport fishing industries and the business that support them? And what about the disastrous impact of large scale dredging and underwater blasting to the marine life and birds?

The “zone of lethality” is a term used in environmental assessment reports required for projects such as this that denotes the number of fish, whales, or birds are expected to be killed either by the dredging and blasting during the construction or the by the wind turbines while in service.

The preparation for offshore wind farms along our Mid-Atlantic coastline is being blamed for the killing of 30 whales and a dozen dolphins. A recent report compiled by two federal agencies, NOAA and BOEM finds that noise, vibration, electromagnetic fields, heat transfer, and thermal radiation associated with offshore wind farms could alter the marine environment. Noise levels from the turbines may have negative effects on communication, foraging, and predator detection.

A study by the California Ocean Protection Council with funding from the California Energy Commission evaluated the effects of offshore wind turbines in the Morro Bay, Diablo Canyon, and Humboldt Areas.

The sustained northwesterly winds in these areas drive the upwelling of deeper, cool, nutrient-rich waters that sustain a thriving ecosystem. Modest changes (about 5% reduction) to wind speeds found near the wind farms leads to a decrease in upwelled physical volume transport to the coastal zone.

The development of large-scale off shore energy has the potential to reduce the wind stress at the sea surface, which could have local and regional implications on the overall ecosystem.

The global agenda to reduce CO2 emissions has quickly become a frenzy to reach zero emissions without any rational thought or common sense. When it comes to something as important to our survival as the production of electrical energy we need go about this
in a more intelligent fashion.

Our economy, our food and water supply, our financial system, our military, our freedom, all depends on a consistent, reliable, and affordable method of generating electricity. Of all the ways that we can produce renewable electrical energy, wind energy is probably the worst.

Other options

But we do have other proven, reliable, and affordable options that take up less space on the planet, do less harm, and make a lot more sense.

Today, there are companies that capture CO2 from manufacturing plants and sell it for commercial and industrial use. Scientists have developed a technique that removes CO2 from the exhaust flues of natural gas power plants.

Natural gas is a relatively clean burning fuel. It wasn’t that long ago when the government was pushing for automobiles to run on natural gas. Renewable natural gas is a biogas that can be used in place of fossil natural gas. It comes from a variety of sources like existing solid waste landfills, wastewater treatment plants, livestock farms, etc. And there is also green hydrogen, another carbon free fuel source that is created from water.

This project being planned for Port San Luis to serve the Morro Bay wind farm is a bad idea on many levels. And the same applies to the wind farm project in Morro Bay.

As far as the additional use by Vandenberg, although I am in full support of the Space Force program, I do not think Port San Luis is the place for that. They have other options that would be better suited.

For those of us who love the Central Coast it is time to stand up and make our voices heard. Our representatives in Sacramento are out of control and need to start representing us. These two projects are just the beginning of a much bigger plan to install thousands of wind turbines along our coastline.

It is time to get organized. We need to save Morro Bay and Port San Luis and the Central Coast.

Robert Sidenberg is an Arroyo Grande resident. For more than 40 years, he has enjoyed sports fishing out of Port San Luis.

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No, the “Market” has not spoken on these projects. They can’t find enough investors , so they turn to subsidies. Get rid of the subsides and the other stealth tax – rate increases- and their stuff would vanish. Tell your representatives , No more subsidies. The taxpayers are the latest and probably last group that has any money to take in this kleptocracy . Let those who believe invest. No more “ Bullet train “ projects to nowhere.

I have a low IQ and a 40 year outdated science education. But, I do have a big opinion based on the propaganda I hear on AM radio.

The facts are clear, batteries explode. Look around, you see it happening everywhere, all the time.

Science isn’t real. 5g vaccines and Kamala are coming for emotional support cat.

Save the whales!!

It will be the latest mess by the save the planet crowd. Until humans realize this planet can only accommodate about one billion people without causing harm to our environment nothing will fix this problem. But we will have a bunch of new billionaires

Mr. Sidenberg,

You do realize that the market has already spoken, right? For new electricity generation, pretty much anywhere in the world, wind energy is the cheapest, per kilowatt. Not sure what the he!! you are talking about.

I think the only red herring you didn’t use was “wind farms cause cancer”… but maybe that’s only a concern for you if they are land-based.

No project should have a “zone of lethality”!!!

Yes the “the dredging and blasting” needed to place concrete blocks with floating towers and cables that can be removed later.

Above is a rambling laundry list of wind power is bad things vs the actual Morro Bay project in question, Misinformation or Public Relations depending who you work for.

All electrical generation projects have a zone of lethality. Ever visit Diablo?

Our quest to decrease carbon output is going to do more harm to the earth than any coal or natural gas or refinery industry could ever do….

According to Harvard University, eight million people died worldwide because of fossil fuel pollution in 2018.


Please provide a link showing that renewable energy does any such damage.

Well, that’s certainly not a biased study funded by groups with an agenda…

(yeah, that was sarcasm)

So, last time I checked, Harvard was one of the leading research universities in the world. I guess I’m misled in believing they are probably about as unbiased as we can get.

Jalopnik: The Cult of Cars, Racing…etc.

Now there’s an unbiased source. Well done.

You ever buy a car that was keep next to ocean Rust everywhere the ocean is a metal eater and this windmill proj is just another stupid idea from save the earth left. They always want to push some new thing but never bring the existing systems up to par to work better. We have technology now to build plants that will filter out the bad gases that supposably harm our planet. We have not built a new Gas refinery in years and still run on the inefficient ones. Upgrade what we have and blend in the other types of power instead of just jumping off the cliff every time.

I know right, every day we hear the news of floating oil rigs, platforms, ships etc just dissolving into the ocean and there is nothing anyone can do about it.


but never bring the existing systems up to par to work better. ” That would require the government to force the corp to do something as they own the plants. Then the libertarians/gop can go on about gov overreach and stifling regulations. But as the libertarians keep saying the gov can’t do anything but keep the ss checks going.


Has the libertarian party ever got anything done?

Rigs, platforms, and ships, have small dedicated teams that do nothing but maintain the structure. This is easy enough to do when it is but one structure.

1700 structures, spread out over 400 square miles, is a task that would require tens of thousands of people, hundreds of ships, aircraft, permanent offshore living facilities, and shore facilities to maintain the maintainers.

Your cheap and renewable energy is getting more and more unaffordable every day.

Why the constant exaggeration?

Wind generators have small dedicated teams that do nothing but maintain the machines, every day. These teams are all over the country, plenty of work.

“is a task that would require tens of thousands of people, hundreds of ships, aircraft, permanent offshore living facilities,”

Exaggeration much? “A study by California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo found that a 3 Gigawatts of offshore wind off Morro Bay will bring an average of 650 annual offshore wind jobs that pay an average annual wage of $89,000 a year.”

 hundreds of ships, aircraft, permanent offshore living facilities” Lol.

“Of the 24,000 jobs that are anticipated during the six-year construction and assembly phase, the report estimates 50% will be local with some support facilities on the Central Coast. However, if the assembly work is primarily completed in the Los Angeles area, those numbers would drop.

During the projected 25 years of operations, the Morro Bay floating offshore wind industry is expected to generate approximately 600 jobs, with 480 in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, according to the report.”


Hey Kettle, thanks for putting up the good fight against the Luddites. They can’t imagine a different future and would much rather pay the oil companies $5 a gallon for gas into the future than to admit there is a different and better way to produce energy.

We already imagined a future of nuclear energy. Though, admittedly, it is a different and better way to produce energy that doesn’t require paying any oil companies.

I’m not sure what I exaggerated. None of the onshore wind farms have 20 miles or ocean between the maintenance shop and the tower.

Obviously, a dry land team can easily maintain the easily accessible towers strung along access roads and highways. With a nice shower, cold beer, and a wife to go home to every day.

But we’re not talking about dirt roads and Chevy’s, right? We’re also not talking (at least, I’m not) about building, or erecting, or trucking parts to an assembly port.

When the offshore wind farm begins to produce power, somebody, or somebodies, will have to be on 24/7/365 maintenance duty. That, cannot be accomplished on a sunny afternoon. That, will require a maintenance team that grows as the wind farm grows. No Chevy’s allowed, because big boats will be needed to transport crews to the towers. Other boats will be needed for environmental hazards when blades break, turbines leak, generators catch fire, or a tower sinks, while everything else is busy rusting into the water. More boats will be needed to transport the massive repair parts. By the time 1700 towers are operational in the 400 square miles, there will be a large fleet dedicated to maintenance in a highly corrosive environ, coupled with storms, high winds, dangerous swells, and various other ocean dangers that will delay or deny, any work being attempted.

I’m not sure what I exaggerated. “

Then it’s intentional and not exaggeration.

“would require tens of thousands of people, hundreds of ships, aircraft, permanent offshore living facilities”

Yes. I’m not sure what part of a minimum of 20 miles offshore, highly corrosive environ, storms, big waves, big swells, deep water, and only ONE possible means of access, you don’t comprehend? Couple this wind farm, with the Humboldt wind farm, and double the manpower and machinery.

This isn’t Tehachapi, where you can walk out your front door and go to work on the towers in your back yard, with little concern about the ground falling away, or tumbleweeds piling against the tower legs, nor the wheelbarrow full of an oily spill in the dirt you’ll need to cart away in the evening.

Nearly every other offshore wind farm, is placed in much more shallow waters, in much calmer seas, with much less wind forces.

I haven’t even touched on earthquake faults shifting the sea floor…

The wind industry is using the same floating tech the oil and gas drilling industry developed.

Feel free to think you know better then the engineers of the wind/oil energy industry.

I haven’t even touched” unqualified speculation and fud just like OP.

I pretty well covered, that oil rigs have a dedicated maintenance team.

Unqualified?? For the last 50 years, all we have heard from every anti-Diablo “coalition” is the imminent and massive failure of the Hosgri, San Simeon, Pecho, Los Osos, Edna, Olson, Crowbar, and don’t forget the San Luis Bay, fault lines.

The wind farm is smack dab in the middle of the Hosgri. Some fud….

Over affordable land the Aermotor Windmill is practical for their specific purpose, to pump water for that rural home or a water trough where no electricity is available. Today, although practical, they are very expensive compared to other solar options. That said, it is good to have that knowledge remain because yesteryear’s technology can be replicated by a crafty local whereas solar cells and all modern vehicles / electronics can be extinguished with one EMP burst! Nobody needs to die with that EMP bomb but everything high-tech will. Just hope if you are in a plane, it has a good glide ratio to the nearest landing strip and the controls are still cabled.

Always be prepared for life without electricity.

Thank you Rob. Lines tight.