If towering wind turbines come to Central Coast ocean waters, how visible would they be?

San Luis Obispo County could one day see large collections of behemoth floating turbines spinning off its shores as the federal government explores the ocean’s potential as a source of wind energy generation.

The idea of possibly hundreds of turbines as tall as 700 feet has attracted interest from several companies, while the U.S. Navy considers whether the industry is compatible with its operations off the coast.

Many questions remain to be resolved before anything is built, but there’s one in particular of interest to anyone who lives along the North Coast or enjoys visiting there: Just how visible would an offshore wind farm likely be here?


The effort to explore building wind turbines off the California coast is being managed by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Three possible locations in federal waters have been identified to date: two off SLO County and one off Humboldt County.

One area off Morro Bay — located in waters closer to San Simeon — begins 24 miles offshore, while another off Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant begins 22 miles offshore.

To put that distance in perspective, the turbines would be located about four to five times farther away than structures like the oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel.

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If towering wind turbines come to Central Coast ocean waters, how visible would they be?, by Carrie Schuman, The Tribune, August 2, 2019.


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