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Sustainability on the Central Coast: How San Luis Obispo is Making An Impact

In 2020, San Luis Obispo established a Climate Action Plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2035. In this plan, they discuss different methods of reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as managing air quality and water quality. 

In the Climate Action Plan, a vital pillar of this report includes clean energy systems; clean, affordable and reliable energy to the city of San Luis Obispo.

In November of 2021, San Luis Obispo was awarded a place on the “A-List” for achievements in climate action by the Climate Disclosure Project. This is the second-year in a row San Luis Obispo has been named a global leader in this category and one out of only 95 cities in the country to be awarded a spot on the “A-List.”

California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo is no stranger to environmental awards, winning the Ralph Fuhrman Medal for “Outstanding Water Quality Academic-Practice Collaboration” and a Leadership Award from the Environmental Protection Agency for their work on solar plant sustainability. 

Now, San Luis Obispo is making leeway on their clean energy proposal for the city.

Morro Bay may become the new home for 400-square-miles of offshore wind turbines, in a new plan to implement clean energy. 

This proposed plan would be implemented 20 miles from Cambria’s shore and 35 miles northeast of Morro Bay. 

While it may take years for actual turbines to be put in the ground, Sara Guiltinan, renewable energy specialist at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), said leases for the project are expected to go through this year.

Locals expressed their concerns in a virtual meeting on January 5, with many people questioning how the construction of turbines may disturb commercial fishing.

Larry Thevik, ​​president of the Washington Dungeness Crab Fishermen’s Association, has expressed his worries.

“It seems that BOEM is prepared to lease first and ask questions later,” Thevik said. “And frankly, that’s not going to take us to a good outcome.”

It’s a point of contention for the community, but the Bureau is assuring the public that their concerns are being heard. To learn more about the Morro Bay Wind Energy project and stay updated on its progress, click here.

Allister Loftus

Cal Poly '24

Alli is a second-year journalism major and environmental studies minor at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. She is from the Bay Area and currently on the editorial team for Her Campus. Alli is interested in writing about environmental justice and social justice topics. In her free time she likes watching movies, reading comics, and playing with her dogs.
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