A joint venture between EnBW North America and Trident Wind has signed a community benefits agreement with Morro Bay city council to support the 1GW Castle Wind offshore project off the California coast.
The agreement aims to help maximise economic and other benefits during development, construction and operation of the wind farm, if a lease is secured from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
It also gives the Castle Wind JV the exclusive option to lease an outflow tunnel owned by the city for setting up a grid connection with the local substation.
Castle Wind has committed to hiring local residents, establishing internships and trainee programs at local schools and universities during construction and operation of the wind farm.
A maintenance and monitoring facility would also be based at Morro Bay harbour, under the terms of the agreement.
The JV will also work with the city to create green solutions with electric vehicles and charging stations, as well as assist with the potential formation of a community choice aggregator.
Castle Wind chief executive Alla Weinstein said: “Castle Wind is honoured to partner with the city to bring a new renewable energy industry and associated economic development activities to the Morro Bay community.
“The planned offshore wind project provides an unprecedented economic development opportunity to the city, which has seen most of its industrial base disappear over the last decade.
“In addition, the CBA demonstrates that projects that have been de-risked by bringing stakeholders on board early in the process are more likely to succeed and achieve commercial operation sooner, while creating economic benefits to the state and local communities.
“Execution of the CBA is the expression of the Morro Bay community’s support for the project as part of shaping their own future.”
Morro Bay Mayor Jamie Irons and council member John Headding said: “Castle Wind’s planned offshore wind project would bring significant benefits to the city and surrounding communities.
“The city council understands that a strong partnership with a qualified and well-funded developer is in the best interest of the City and the surrounding community. Local support for the Castle Wind project was dispositive in the council’s decision.
“The city therefore agreed to work with Castle Wind to ensure that the federal auction for a wind development site in federal waters off the coast of Central California is designed in such a way that BOEM will give preference to a project developer that has made the effort to earn local community support and has made the commitment to ensure local economic benefits.”
In September, BOEM issued a call for information and nominations as an initial step towards an offshore auction off California, said Castle Wind.
“If Castle Wind secures the site lease from BOEM, the proposed project will be evaluated under state and federal environmental laws before the necessary permits can be issued,” it added.
EnBW JV eyes California offshore community benefits, by Staff, Renewable Energy News, December 3, 2018.