Morro Bay Resident’s fear of Wind is Overblown

Thank you, Gail Johnson, for your letter to the Estero Bay News (Estero Bay News Vol. 6, Issue 2), regarding any danger of Morro Bay being “industrialized.” Opponents of the proposed offshore wind farm as well as the BESS- the battery storage facility, like Gail, are making the argument that both projects will certainly change the small-town character of Morro Bay.

My thesis was Morro Bay has had a history of industrial uses like 450-foot smokestacks next to our little fishing village and locals and tourists alike have enjoyed the atmosphere despite their presence for the past 70 plus years.

Not that I wouldn’t mind if the giant stacks and the old concrete,150-foot-tall power plant came tumbling down to make room for all kinds of uses — even back to nature.

Guess what? That’s just what the company who owns the hundred plus acre property is ready to do.

February 20 meeting

In fact, there is a meeting of the city Planning Commission February 20 to go over ideas to master plan this area for the future after the plant and smokestacks come down.

How is that for less industrialization?

Instead, Gail and opponents of both renewable energy projects, while admitting we need them, fear the “massive” projects will forever change the character of our little fishing village.

Here is what Gail writes in her opposition piece that dredges up assertions she takes as fact about the projects that are overblown or just not correct.

“ A major port overhaul is envisioned” and “our bay would be unrecognizable.”

“Mother’s Beach would be gone” and the iconic” otters will disappear.” The harbor would be dredged to double the depth.

 “The view of our harbor would include massive piers, huge ocean-going ships, cranes, and platforms that would dominate the skyline.” 

Here is the problem. All of this is wild conjecture — hot air over offshore wind. It’s much more likely that the harbor would not be dredged any deeper than it is now and any boat over 200 feet would not be able to navigate in the small harbor. Larger boats could not turn around.

Morro Bay officials say discussion is in the very early stage but the kind of boat that would service the wind farms would periodically carry employees and spare parts — not giant turbines or blades that would be coming on larger ships from Long Beach where the units will be assembled, the port’s authority has announced. The big industrial stuff is happening there!

Remember that the offshore wind project is still 8 to 10 years away and talks are in the early stage. Gail must be a mindreader! But nobody’s going to change the scale of our tiny harbor to anything like Long Beach! And nobody would tolerate the loss of our otter population. It’s just not going to happen.

As for fears that the battery storage plant would ruin the view along the Embarcadero, again, I repeat, the view along the Embarcadero is now dominated by a giant mothballed power plant. What would replace it would not even be seen from the visitor’s walking area, the BESS will likely be screened by trees. The buildings that would house the battery storage units are two-story, maybe 30 to 35 ft tall compared to the 150-foot tall, mothballed power plant. The bottom line is you won’t even know it’s there.

This is an opportunity not to be feared. As for answers to questions about the BESS project, the city now expects the Draft EIR will get a hearing in front of the planning commission in May or June. 

John Lindt

Los Osos

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