Letters to the Editor: Climate change poses a bigger threat to marine life than offshore wind power
To the editor: California’s transition to 100% clean energy will require the large-scale deployment of offshore wind power off the state’s coast, something that my company’s CADEMO project in state waters near the Vandenberg Space Force Base will advance. Progress will be stymied if conservation and tribal rights are pitted against climate action and green jobs. (“A Chumash tribe and conservationists are fighting a controversial offshore wind power plan,” March 21)
It’s true that some environmental, fishing and tribal organizations have expressed concern about the potential effects of our project’s four floating turbines. These concerns also have been raised about the federal government’s plan to hold an auction later this year to site hundreds of turbines off Morro Bay and Humboldt County.
Some groups may want to stop offshore wind development altogether. Others wish to ensure it is developed in an environmentally sensitive manner. We disagree with the former. We agree with the latter.
In the case of our CADEMO project, these concerns are being examined and will be resolved through the State Lands Commission’s fully independent environmental review process. For projects in federal waters, they will run the gamut of both state and federal environmental reviews.
After our project is installed in 2026, it will host a variety of monitoring mechanisms to test impacts on birds, fish and marine mammals. This testing will help ensure the design of appropriate measures to protect all species when offshore wind grows to full scale.
Furthermore, my company supports the proposed designation of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary. Our project’s six-square-mile area is a mere rounding error for the proposed sanctuary’s 7,670 square miles. Both are crucial for environmental protection.
Let’s be clear: The main danger to species and habitat is not wind turbines, but catastrophic climate change, which is well underway. The Newsom and Biden administrations have recognized this threat and declared that offshore wind must be a key part of the switch to clean energy.
California’s climate leadership must not get caught in circular firing squads. Pitting climate action against the environment is a false dichotomy. The world’s climate crisis cannot allow more division and inaction.
Mikael Jakobsson, Palm Springs
The writer is chairman of Cierco Group and director of Floventis.