Golden State Wind Announces Start of Lease Area Surveys

17 June 2024

Golden State Wind Announces Start of Lease Area Surveys

Central Coast, California June 17, 2024 – Golden State Wind (GSW), a floating offshore wind energy project being undertaken by Ocean Winds (“OW”), has received all required permits and approvals to commence geophysical survey activities in the federally regulated waters off the coast of Central California, and will begin those surveys on July 2, 2024.

GSW is a 50/50 joint venture of OW and the CPP Investments, managed by OW and holds Lease OCS-P 0564 in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area, located 53 miles northwest of Morro Bay and 22 miles from the closest point to shore. Geophysical surveys are non-invasive and use low-energy equipment to map features on the surface of the seafloor and the geological layers beneath it. GSW surveys will [primarily] be conducted using autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV). Survey data will reveal potentially sensitive resources and allow for avoidance of those natural features and to assist in thoughtful project siting and planning.

“GSW will employ survey data for engineering and permitting a proposed offshore wind energy installation, ensuring project designs that avoid and minimize potential impacts by reducing physical and biological disturbance of marine resources and wildlife,” says GSW CEO Tyler Studds. “Low-energy geophysical survey technology used in offshore wind is very different from seismic airguns used in oil and gas surveys and sonar used in tactical military operations emitting lower noise at higher frequency and narrower beamwidth.”

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is the federal agency overseeing and regulating offshore wind and managing the lease areas. Lessees are required to submit Construction and Operations Plans (COP) to BOEM within six years after lease issuance. The BOEM timeline lays out a five-year timeframe for developers of offshore wind to obtain data regarding on-site conditions. This data is collected through methods like geophysical surveys and GSW will conduct those surveys using equipment consistent with the California State Lands Commission Low-Energy Offshore Geophysical Survey Permit Program (OGPP).

Geophysical surveys will conform to a robust Protected Species Monitoring Plan (PSMP) and will use industry standard low-energy equipment that has been routinely utilized in surveys off California’s Central Coast by academic and research institutions and federal agencies conducting research. A Local Notice to Mariners (LNM) will be issued prior to survey launch through the US Coast Guard to ensure responsible co-use of the ocean.

This 2024 geophysical survey campaign in federal waters by GSW will utilize the vessel Go Adventurer, which is registered and “flagged” in the US. The Go Adventurer will be based at Port Hueneme and will not use the port facilities at Morro Bay Harbor or Port San Luis. Vessel crew and all aboard will follow strict mitigation measures to protect marine life and local ecosystems, including limiting vessel speeds to 10 knots and maintaining a 500 meter or greater separation distance from any sighted marine mammal. Trained Protected Species Observers will be aboard to identify and protect marine wildlife. A visual monitoring program will require survey zones to be cleared before equipment use, and there will be shut-down of equipment upon detection of Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed whale species within or entering a pre-determined protective zone.

“The GSW team is committed to establishing meaningful and frequent engagement with all local stakeholders and those deeply connected to the region’s coastal lands and waters,” says Studds. In addition to the Local Notice to Mariners (LNM) issued through the US Coast Guard the GSW website ( has been updated with information specific to Mariners, including Frequently Asked Questions and Fisheries Communication Plan (FCP). The FCP details GSW’s plans for timely outreach, engagement, discussion, and collaboration with fishing communities and is a “living document” which will continue to evolve with regular feedback and guidance from the fishing community, fishing organizations, regulatory agencies, and individual fishermen during all stages of our proposed project.

GSW project team members began meeting with Morro Bay and Port San Luis Commercial Fishing associations in July 2022. Outreach has since expanded north and south of the Morro Bay region to be inclusive of commercial and recreational fisheries in and around the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area. Additionally, GSW has engaged with local Native American Tribal Groups to incorporate their concerns on the survey approach and posted a Native American Tribal Communications Plan to its website.