Help us save Morro Bay and Port San Luis

January 11, 2024


The Morro Bay wind farm project is moving forward at a rapid pace regardless of the numerous negative impacts this will have on the marine life and our communities. Port San Luis is being considered as a location to serve as a base for the construction and maintenance of hundreds of 1,000 foot tall wind turbines which would require a massive alteration project drastically changing the Port’s current primary mission from “serving the public with an array of commercial and recreational fishing and boating opportunities while ensuring an environmentally responsible, safe, sustainable harbor that preserves our marine heritage and character” to the plan for a larger, industrialized port with a mission to serve large ships, cranes and other related equipment.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of people who live in the Avila Beach – Port San Luis area and those who use the port for fishing, boating, and camping are not happy about this.

The first stage of the development of the wind farm project, the site surveys will begin soon within the coming year. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) whose mission is to “Manage development of U.S. Outer Continental Shelf energy and mineral resources in an environmentally and economically responsible way,” and the California Coastal Commission which  is, “Committed to protecting and enhancing California’s coast and ocean for present and future generations through careful planning and regulation of environmentally-sustainable development, rigorous use of science, strong public participation, education, and effective intergovernmental coordination” have green-lighted the developers to proceed with this process regardless of numerous well documented, adverse and sometimes deadly affects this activity will have on the marine environment.

The site surveys require the use of high resolution sonar equipment using up to and above 228 decibels to analyze the ocean floor. This procedure alone has shown to have drastic effects on various marine life. The threshold for hearing damage, masking, and stress reactions for many fish is 120 decibels.  Salmon can die at 219 decibels, other fish including rock fish can die at 207 decibels, and there is significant mortality to zooplankton populations as well.

The site surveys will take place where the wind turbines will be located which is right in the middle of a major migratory path for numerous whale species, salmon, tuna and many other other migratory fish and marine birds. This area is one of the most unique and biodiverse marine areas in the world.

The site survey also includes the area in front Diablo Canyon where a main power cable will run from the wind turbine area to the power plant.

It should be pointed out that since the beginning of site surveys that began in Dec. 2022 for offshore wind projects off the coast of New Jersey, 83 large whale deaths and 369 small cetacean (whales, dolphins and porpoises) stranding have occurred. Up 164% from the prior year.

Lawmakers, local officials, fishing industry associations and wildlife groups along the Atlantic Coast have called for an offshore wind development moratorium amid an uptick in marine mammal deaths. The project developers and BOEM claim these deaths are not the result of any wind farm activity but are the result of ship strikes and/or climate change however the evidence does not support this. There has not been such an increase of this magnitude elsewhere where wind farm activity is not present. Regardless BOEM has chosen to move full steam ahead.

The final environmental assessment dated Oct. 2022 and conducted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for this project declared any negative impact to marine life and birds related to the development of the wind farm to be negligible even though there is considerable evidence to the contrary that brings into question the accuracy of BOEM’s assessment. Common sense would suggest that placing these kind of structures in the middle of a primary migratory route would be problematic alone. And the effects the equipment used during the site survey’s on marine life is certainly more than just negligible.

In 2012, the California Coastal Commission denied a similar permit for PG&E  to use sonar for testing at 230 to 252 decibels. Their report stated, “The project would also adversely affect Marine Protected Areas, fish and other invertebrates, involving both physiological impacts as well as economic impacts to commercial and recreational fishing by precluding fishing and potentially affecting fish behavior and biology.”

The Coastal Commission also previously denied a permit to the Navy, who wanted to conduct sonar testing at 154 decibels.

The Morro Bay project which consists of a 376 square mile area 20 miles off the coast between Morro Bay and Cambria is just the first of many more planned wind farms all along the California coastline. This is not a not in my backyard thing. This is a not in anybody’s backyard thing.

Of all the possible ways available to produce electricity, wind farms are definitely the most inefficient and costly. Consider the tremendous amount of land and ocean space required for wind turbines and battery plants to achieve the goals set forth to produce the same amount of electricity we are already producing using more reliable methods on a fraction of the space.

As if the harm from wind energy to the environment is not bad enough consider the economic and financial affects. Wind and solar energy projects rely entirely on subsidies and tax credits. The federal government estimates the subsidies alone for these projects over the next 20 years will total over $3 trillion. Production tax credits for wind generation will add hundreds of billions more. All this money will be financed by both state and federal government with additional debt and the resulting interest payments adding trillions of dollars more.

Many people don’t care how much debt our government takes on because they don’t understand the consequences. The fact is the consequences are catastrophic. We all will be paying for this through increased energy fees and taxes for years.

In the case for wind energy the extreme negative impact to the environment along with the high cost far exceed any benefit. This ambitious plan to cover our oceans and earth with wind turbines defies logic.

In addition, wind farm energy is not emission free. Most of the factories that build the turbines are located in China and are not emission free. And the equipment used to install and maintain the turbines is not emission free. BOEM estimates air emissions from the operations and maintenance of the wind farm to be as much as 38,038 tons per year. Emissions from the construction will add another 325,255 tons of emissions.

All forms of renewable energy including wind energy are are not reliable since they depend on another source of energy that is not always present. As my friend Wade Allison, Professor of Physics at Oxford University in the United Kingdom so eloquently stated, “The generation of electricity by wind tells a disappointing story. The political enthusiasm and the investor hype are not supported by the evidence, even for offshore wind, which can be deployed out of sight of the infamous My Back Yard.”

The actual physical science of converting wind to electricity shows it to be very inefficient, thus requiring a large number of turbines to produce the required amount of electricity. Also there would need to be batteries to store the electricity needed when the turbines are not producing which is a major problem since the technology to store that much electricity does not exist and according to Professor Allison is not possible. But even if it was the result would be enormously large areas of land and ocean covered with wind turbines, solar panels, and battery plants that still would not  produce enough electricity to meet our needs. So we will always need more reliable methods to be available.

Nuclear energy is emission free and natural gas is a relatively clean burning. These forms of producing electricity are efficient, affordable, and require very little space.

There have been great improvements in both nuclear and natural gas power plants over the past 30 plus years and will be continually improved upon. Small nuclear reactors can be built quicker, cheaper, and safer than before and do not need to be located on the coastlines. And with the advancement of carbon capture technology natural gas power plants can and will be virtually emission free. There has been major advancements made in reducing emissions in all fuel powered motors for cars, trucks, boats, and equipment.

The plan to eliminate the use of fossil fuel and cover the planet with wind farms and solar panels is simply not practicable nor is it necessary. You really have to ask yourself what is really going on here.

My hope is that the California Coastal Commission does their job and re-examines the BOEM environmental analysis and denies the site survey permits. But if that does not happen, we must do whatever we can to stop this.

We, the citizens need to be informed, involved and make our opinions about wind energy known to those that have been given the authority to make decisions that affect us and our communities. Most of these commissions and boards are occupied by non-elected people who are appointed by elected officials such as the governor and various state and federal representatives.

Most of our local elected officials are very supportive of this offshore wind project and the agencies in charge of protecting our natural resources like the California Coastal Commission, California State Lands Commission, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, National Marine Fisheries Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are all following suite and approving every facet of this project regardless of the obvious negative impacts.

It appears that BOEM as well as the other agencies involved that are supposed to be representing us the people in protecting our oceans and coastlines are instead representing and working for the wind developer companies.

All of these agencies are required to allow public comment before decisions are made. There are opportunities now and going forward for our voices to be heard regarding this wind farm project. We must speak up now!

React Alliance a local organization established to educate and inform the public about the issues involved with this project and offshore wind in general has a website that is a good place to start. Check out the events and meetings page for information on the latest meetings and forums that everyone can attend and/or make or post comments.

Here is the link for a BOEM meeting event that people can access now and make comments. Comments must be submitted by 8:59 p.m. on Feb. 20.

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Two ideas, the first one has been around since the 60’s. Put generators on stationary bicycles. The professor did it on Gilligan’s Island and coconuts are environmentally friendly.

Second one, Solar panel campaign signs and banners. Let all the politicians pay to put a power generating sign in your front yard. Everyone loves campaign stuff especially Trumpers!! You know there’s a ton of that crap coming.

Glad to hear about React Alliance. This Dr Suess – Rube Goldberg style to find the most ludicrous way to grab energy in the most inefficient way imaginable must be expose for the folly it is. All it will accomplish is another wealth transfer from most of us to a lucky few who are bribing our governments to let them milk us via tax paid subsidies and drastically increased electric bills. That’s why we’re talking about a sliding scale for PG and E bills . Part of the setting for this.

Just like the Bullet Train , this is another parasitic , benefit free investment for the suckers in Cali.

I wish those who like to think of themselves as righteous defenders of the environment would wake up to the fact they are being conned by corporations, just “Greenwrapped” for marketing purposes. We used to question the power structures behind this kind of sleeze back in the 60s and 70s , but if they say it’s to save the environment, they get a pass…no questions asked.

Like the bullet train , this stuff will probably not be completed if ever. We will run out of money long before.

900 ft windmills 20 miles offshore! Give me a break! Straight out of a Mel Brooks movie.

Want to hear something wild? I shared this article on FB with some comments and my Canadian cousin said she couldn’t see it. It was censored in Canada! Without the First Amendment Americans wouldn’t even have a chance to learn about the corruption and environmental damage occuring with some of those alleged “green” energy projects. Of course, ignorance is often bliss, and she simply said “energy is complex” and had no response when I countered with “that’s why we need more information to make wise decisions.” Will the outrage the truth here brings actually influence our brilliant and trustworthy officials making these decisions? We still may be screwed and hopping mad about it.

I can’t wait for wind turbines on Madonna mountain, bishops peak, Cuesta ridge. Such a lovely backdrop to our cute little happiest place on earth. More nukes!

Oh look another anti wind missive from coast conservative news, next up more about the stolen election from the San Luis Obispo gop committee and how wind power make the whales gay.

Nimby of the first order and he posted this everywhere, cut and paste.

Take a item and put it in the ocean and it rusts 100 times faster and that is part of the issue .they will spend millions to build and maintain and I’m sure if you figured the cost to benefit you would be loosing your money. Let’s save the ocean along with the planet

Do you feel the same way about deep water drills and oil platforms?

This will change life on the central coast forever and not for the better… the residents of Avila and Morro Bay are being forced to sacrifice the life they have for nothing… thee windmills will be obsolete before the combustible engine is… That I can guarantee….

Excellent op-ed Mr. Sidenberg. Well developed with plenty of details. Unfortunately, your solutions fall short. We cannot continue to burn fossil fuels. While natural gas is much cleaner than coal it still produces far more emissions than nuclear power and solar or wind renewables. That is the direction we must go. I believe your fears are unwarranted anyway, because it makes more sense to do most of the construction for this project at the industrial area at Port Hueneme, only about 100 nautical miles from where the farm will be built.

Great article Bobby, destroy and pollute the ocean all this to charge batteries that explode.

It must be hard to live in Morro Bay with all of the Tesla’s and cell phones exploding every day, the news is full of the articles of everyone homes burning from all of the lithium batteries that are in so many things.


I hit enter too soon, there are a lot of assertions in this piece, none of them are cited. Fine to post a position piece, but this seems to be entirely one person’s opinion. Perhaps it should be listed as such?

Got any links to sources for these claims??? I have one that directly refutes the whale deaths: