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Seafloor mapping project in San Luis Obispo County sets stage for offshore wind development

US Department of Energy
US Department of Energy

A seafloor mapping project is underway off San Luis Obispo County’s coast, and the data collected will help determine the location of an offshore wind development.

The crew aboard the seafloor mapping vessel is exploring an area about 22 miles offshore starting this week. They’re gathering information to decide where the floating wind turbines should be anchored. The turbines will eventually provide electricity for the land through cables.

The technology uses low-energy sound-based equipment to scan for vulnerable marine life habitats and soil conditions.

Tyler Studds is the CEO of Golden State Wind, the project overseeing the survey. He said it will ensure the turbines do not interfere with the local environment.

“It's really helping us to permit the project and design a project that can avoid and minimize potential impacts on resources,” Studds said.

He also said the surveys would help them understand the layout of the seafloor and what areas could support the anchors that carry the floating wind turbines.

“It also helps us to engineer the project by understanding the properties of the soil and the seabed, gives us information about the qualities of those soils,” Studds said.

Aboard the mapping vessel, the Go Adventurer, trained crew members will also look out for marine life and stop the ship if necessary. It will also travel at a slow speed of 10 knots to avoid any disturbances to habitats.

KCBX Reporter Sarina Grossi is a Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo graduate. At Cal Poly, she worked as a news anchor and reporter for KCPR Radio and as the Digital Manager for Mustang Media Group. Sarina was editor-in-chief of her community college newspaper. In her free time, she likes to read, watch movies, do arts and crafts, and go to thrift and antique stores.
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