Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) and Castle Wind LLC, a joint venture between Trident Winds Inc. and EnBW North America Inc., have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) regarding future power purchase agreements (PPAs) for California offshore wind energy.
The MOU outlines the mutual interests and intent of both parties to enter into long-term PPAs for approximately 1 GW of renewable energy from Castle Wind Offshore, a floating offshore wind project currently being planned off the central California coast.
The MOU recognizes that offshore wind offers a long-term solution that complements MBCP’s potential energy needs. MBCP is a community choice energy agency established by local communities to source carbon-free electricity for Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.
The proposed project is planned to be grid-connected at the existing Morro Bay substation in Morro Bay, Calif. In 2018, Castle Wind executed a community benefits agreement with the City of Morro Bay and a mutual benefits agreement with local fishermen organizations to ensure the project would address the needs of the local community. As MBCP expands its electric service to the residents and businesses in San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay in early 2020 and potentially the rest of San Luis Obispo County in 2021, this project has strategic potential and importance for locally generated renewable energy and future job creation, the partners say.
“Castle Wind is pleased to be working with Monterey Bay Community Power on a power purchasing agreement to deliver local clean energy from offshore wind,” says Alla Weinstein, CEO of Castle Wind. “While the project is still several years away, we know that offshore wind is poised to play an integral role in California’s electricity portfolio, which will help the state meet its aggressive climate goals at the least cost. This MOU is a statement of commitment by MBCP to use 100 percent renewables and their desire to secure a supply of clean energy that closely meets their demand profile.”
“Monterey Bay Community Power is committed to serving our local communities with cleaner energy,” says MBCP’s CEO, Tom Habashi. “In addition to creating new, local renewable infrastructure and jobs, we recognize the tremendous potential benefits of economically priced offshore renewable energy, including offshore wind’s primary system value coming from its ability to serve the region’s evening load when energy prices and carbon emissions are highest.”
The Castle Wind Offshore project is planned to be located on the Outer Continental Shelf, more than 30 miles from the California coastline in federally managed waters of the Pacific Ocean. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is preparing a lease auction for the project site in 2020. If awarded the lease, Castle Wind anticipates producing 1 GW of renewable energy around 2025.