US Plans First-ever Offshore Floating Wind Farms Off California Coasts

The US government along with the state government of California revealed their plans of installing first-ever floating offshore find warms over the coastal regions of California at Morro Bay and Humboldt Bay.

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The agreement includes numerous wind turbines at Morro and Humbolt Bay expected to generate energy enough to power around 1.6 million homes in the 400-square-mile area 32 kilometers northwest of Morro Bay which can support 3 GW of offshore wind capacity. Around 380 windmills could get installed at this site, which will be finalized by the next month.

This plan is a part of the US President, Joe Biden’s target of achieving 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030.

Furthermore, the plans for potential wind leases in waters off Humboldt County, expected to generate 1.6 GW of power are also lined up as the Interior Department is pushing the process. Additionally, the Defence and Interior Departments are considering getting together to enhance military exercises and renewable energy development altogether.

The US administration has declared a USD 3 billion 800 MW wind project off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, two weeks back. That project would power 400,000 homes with 84 turbines and it would be the first utility-scale wind power development in federal waters. Interestingly, there is another project proposed as Ocean Wind, off New Jersey which is expected to create 1,100 MW of wind power.

Altogether, California alone can generate 4.6 GW of clean energy, having the Morro Bay wind projects producing two-thirds of that clean energy output.

These proposed plans of getting wind farms floating offshore at California’s northern and central coasts are expected for potential government sale of wind leases by mid-2022. Although, environmental analysis and public consultations are yet required. Keep in mind that floating wind turbines are also a more expensive proposition, easily adding a further 10-15 percent to costs of a normal offshore wind turbine, which itself remains the most expensive of renewable energy options, when compared to solar, wind and offshore. However, what California has going for it is a continental shelf that drops into a steep slope quickly off the coast, making offshore wind an expensive proposition or unviable. That, plus being close to where the power will be consumed would certainly be factors that will support the case for floating wind.

California has set a target of generating all of its electricity by 2045 through carbon-free and renewable sources only.

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Bhoomika Singh

Bhoomika is a science graduate, with a strong interest in seeing how technology can impact the environment. She loves covering the intersection of technology, environment, and the positive impact it can have on the world accordingly.

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