October 19, 2022
The Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Organization (MBCFO), the Port San Luis Commercial Fisherman’s Association (PSLCFA), and Castle Wind LLC (Castle Wind), a joint venture between Trident Winds Inc. and TotalEnergies Renewables USA, are pleased to announce the formation of the Morro Bay Lease Areas Mutual Benefits Corporation (Morro Bay MBC).
The purpose of the Morro Bay MBC is to facilitate communication, coordination, and cooperation between the California Central Coast commercial fishing industry and offshore wind project developers, as well as to provide financial resources in furtherance of California Coastal Act policies.
Morro Bay MBC creates a pathway for the industry to demonstrate to the fishermen and fishing communities, to BOEM, and to the California Coastal Commission, the commitment of project developers to responsible offshore wind development that protects and supports a sustainable commercial fishing industry.
“We recognize the imperative behind developing our offshore wind resource for the benefit of all Californians and appreciate that developers like Castle Wind understand the importance of minimizing and compensating for the possible impacts of the offshore wind farms off Morro Bay on the fishing community,” said Tom Hafer, President of the MBCFO. “The newly formed Morro Bay MBC will help ensure that the Central Coast fishing industry is meaningfully included in the development of this new industry.”
“We, as a humanity, are facing a climate emergency and have to put all our efforts towards achieving a clean energy future,” said Alla Weinstein, CEO of Castle Wind LLC. “With any energy project of this magnitude, there are likely to be impacts. Our approach has been to acknowledge, as early as possible, that impacts may occur, which is why we have been working directly with the Central Coast fishermen since the inception of Castle Wind. By establishing the Morro Bay MBC at this early stage in the process, Castle Wind has created a platform for the developers to mitigate anticipated impacts of offshore wind to the commercial fishing industry without causing stakeholder fatigue.”
Castle Wind has been a member of the community since it first submitted an unsolicited lease request to BOEM in 2016 and signed its mutual benefits agreement with the commercial fishermen and a community benefits agreement with the City of Morro Bay in 2018.
The Morro Bay MBC furthers the 2018 mutual benefits agreement signed by MBCFO, PSLCFA, and Castle Wind, which was exclusive to the three signatories. The Morro Bay MBC’s structure is open to all project developers who will secure site leases in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area, and to fishermen that can prove they have been fishing in that area even if they are not members of MBCFO or PSLCFA.
The structure of the Morro Bay MBC is based on the successful transoceanic fiberoptic cable model established 22 years ago (available here) that the California Coastal Commission found sufficient to protect the economic and commercial importance of fishing activities consistent with the state’s enforceable coastal policies.
The board of the newly-formed organization – which includes two representatives from each MBCFO and PSCFA, two representatives from Castle Wind, two seats for representatives from other project developers, and one Harbor Master – will be working together to encourage other project developers to join the Morro Bay MBC prior to the upcoming lease auction.
About Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Organization (MBCFO)
Established in 1972, the MBCFO represents the working men and women of Morro Bay, California’s waterfront. The MBCFO works closely with governmental organizations, NGO’s, business groups and other stakeholders on a number of issues every year to support commercial fisheries, improve marine environments and strengthen the social and economic health of our community.
About Port San Luis Commercial Fisherman’s Association (PSLCFA)
PSLCFA, incorporated in 1964, is dedicated to the advancement of the commercial fishing and community programs within Port San Luis Harbor and within San Luis Obispo County. The PSLCFA is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.
About Castle Wind LLC
Castle Wind LLC is a joint venture between Trident Winds Inc. and TotalEnergies Renewables USA, LLC (TotalEnergies). Castle Wind was created in 2018 following submittal of an unsolicited lease request by Trident Winds Inc. to bring online a commercial scale floating offshore wind farm generating clean, renewable energy to Central California.
About Trident Winds Inc.
Trident Winds was established in 2015 to utilize prior permitting expertise in the marine environment for the development of deep-water offshore wind projects using maturing floating offshore wind technologies. The Trident Winds team brings extensive experience in permitting, floating offshore wind technology, and local energy markets to the Castle Wind joint venture.
About TotalEnergies and Offshore Wind
TotalEnergies, a global multi-energy company, is developing a portfolio of offshore wind projects with a total capacity of more than 11 GW globally, of which 2/3 are bottom-fixed and 1/3 are floating. As part of its ambition to get to net zero by 2050, TotalEnergies continues to expand its renewable electricity business with a goal to reach 100 GW by 2030 and an objective of being among the world’s top five producers of electricity from wind and solar energy. With operations in the U.S. since the 1960s, TotalEnergies is now significantly expanding in the solar and wind space across the country. TotalEnergies is the sole leaseholder of offshore wind energy lease areas OCS-A 0538 (Attentive Energy LLC) in the New York Bight and OCS-A 0545 in Carolina Long Bay.