Asked Questions

Golden State Wind will be located in Lease Area OCS-P 0564 in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area off of California’s central coast. This lease area is 80,418 acres and located approximately 20 miles from shore.

Bottom-fixed wind turbines can be placed in waters up to depths of approximately 50m, but the waters off the central coast of California (where this project will be located) are much deeper at approximately 900–1,300m. As a result, this lease area will only be able to accommodate floating offshore wind turbines that are designed to operate at depths greater than 50m.

Golden State Wind is managed by OW, a pioneer in the floating offshore wind industry with more than 10 years of experience across multiple projects. Floating offshore wind projects currently make up about 1/3 of OW’s total portfolio.

OW’s floating wind projects include the operational 25 MW WindFloat Atlantic project in Portugal, which is Europe’s first floating wind farm, and the 30 MW EFGL project in France, which is now under construction. OW plans to continue building on its extensive experience in this sector through 5.6 GW of floating offshore wind projects (including Golden State Wind) that are under advanced development in Korea, the US, and the UK.

Golden State Wind will generate local clean energy, avoiding millions of tons of harmful greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality, and mitigating the impacts of climate change. In addition to the environmental benefits, the Project will also support the growth of a domestic supply chain, create jobs, and drive significant economic development.

Geophysical surveys use low energy equipment to collect important data to map the seafloor in a noninvasive, nondestructive manner. Mapping of the seafloor and beneath the seafloor will provide detailed information on bottom, conditions, soils, and habitats to inform the design and permitting of the Golden State Wind Project. Survey data is key to informing the safe and responsible design of the Project. California regulates geophysical surveys and sets the criteria for Low Energy equipment in Title 2 of the California Code of Regulations, Section 2100.02 et seq. More information on Golden State Wind’s survey activities can be found here.

Golden State Wind is conducting low-energy geophysical surveys in federal waters in the summer and fall of 2024. Survey vessels follow strict mitigation measures to protect marine life and local ecosystems and to ensure responsible co-use of the ocean. Our survey vessel will be equipped with Automatic Identification System, or AIS, which transmits a ship’s position so that other ships are aware of its position.

Our survey contractor will use industry standard low-energy survey technology that has been routinely used in surveys off the Central Coast by academic and research institutions and federal agencies conducting research. Geophysical surveys will be conducted using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) that will operate approximately 10-20 meters above the seabed. In other words, low-energy survey equipment will operate within a small fraction of the water column. The AUV is equipped with multibeam echosounders, side scan sonars, and sub bottom profilers which will map the seafloor bathymetry, create images of the seafloor, and generate vertical cross sections of the sediment layers below the seafloor. This geophysical survey technology is very different from high energy seismic airguns used in oil and gas surveys or tactical military sonar, emitting lower noise at higher frequency and narrower beamwidth.

Golden State Wind (GSW) is committed to the responsible development of offshore wind and to protecting the health of local ecosystems. The vessel utilized by GSW, US “flagged” Go Adventurer, will follow strict mitigation measures to protect marine life including the use of low energy equipment, a robust Protected Species Monitoring Plan (PSMP), trained Protected Species Observers (PSO) onboard, and clearance/shutdown areas that limit interaction with marine species and avoid contact with other marine life. Our surveys will comply with all conditions from the combined federal and state agency review which together include:

  • Use of low energy, geophysical survey equipment as defined in California state regulations.
  • Use of qualified and NOAA Fisheries-approved PSO on every survey vessel.
  • Visual Monitoring Program that requires zones to be cleared before use of equipment and shutdown zones, in which shut-down of equipment is required upon detection of Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed whale species within or entering that zone.
  • Minimization Vessel Interaction Procedures that limit vessel speed to 10 knots and maintain a 500m or greater separation distance from any sighted marine mammal.

For more information about marine mammal protection and offshore wind activities, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has created a factsheet called Offshore Wind Activities and Marine Mammal Protection.

Impacts from Geophysical surveys were reviewed in 2022 under the National Environmental Policy Act and by the California Coastal Commission and both determined that there would be no significant impacts if the surveys were conducted as conditioned. Surveys will use low energy equipment and comply with all environmental regulations including as further detailed in NOAA Fisheries’ Endangered Species Act Section 7(a)(2) Concurrence Letter, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Essential Fish Habitat, Response for the BOEM’s Offshore Wind Lease Issuance Site Characterization and Assessment for the Morro Bay and Humboldt Wind Energy Areas (NOAA Fisheries 2022).

There is no requirement for environmental monitoring associated with Golden State Wind’s site assessment surveys because the activities are deemed safe with appropriate mitigation measures in place by regulatory agencies. The low energy equipment operates at a frequency outside the range of the hearing capabilities of marine species. Robust, science-based information about acoustics and marine species hearing ranges is available at the following links:

Golden State Wind (GSW) began presenting survey operation plans to the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the Offshore Wind Fisheries Working Group in February 2024. The Fisheries Liaison (FL) is in regular communication with fishermen who actively fish the planned survey area. A Local Notice to Mariners was issued to notify mariners of survey plans and Broadcast Notices will be submitted via United States Coast Guard (USCG) two weeks prior to the start of surveys, and in the event of any updates or changes to plans, to keep mariners informed. Safety is our top priority for all. In addition, the FL will be in regular communication with the survey vessel about fishing activity. GSW outlines its communication strategy in our Fisheries Communication Plan (FCP) which can be found under “Information to Mariners” tab on our website:

Golden State Wind (GSW) recognizes fishing interests and the Project’s planned site assessment activities will share a common space in the offshore waters of California. The combination of GSW’s Fisheries Liaison communicating with our onboard Client Representative will ensure to avoid and minimize conflicts at sea. The onboard Client Representative is responsible for identifying active gear, vessels, and managing communications with fishermen. In addition, the vessel crew and PSOs will be briefed by the FL prior to each departure. Gear sightings will be recorded daily, and communications will be conducted via VHF radio channels 13 and 16. In addition, the FL will be available to provide fishermen with up-to-date locations of survey operations before fishing trips.

Golden State Wind (GSW) believes that with proper planning, outreach, regular communication, and training, fishing gear loss and/or damage from interactions can be avoided or minimized. In the event of an unintentional interaction, GSW has a gear claim process outlined in the FCP. In the event that fishing gear is believed to have been lost or damaged from GSW’s Survey vessel, affected parties are advised to notify GSW’s Fisheries Liaison as soon as feasibly possible: Rachel Mahler, 805-680-8138, The FL can provide the gear loss claim form and will assist fishermen with any questions around the process. A complete form must be submitted within 30 days of the incident.

US Flagged ship: Go Adventurer
Length: 205 feet
Vessel description: Green hull, white house
Port: Operating to and from Port Hueneme on an estimated 28-day cycle.
Call Sign: WDM7780
IMO: 9643087