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CEC Report Provides Recommendations for Reducing Barriers to Offshore Wind

By Media Office Staff

Over the past 40 years, California has become a national leader in land-based wind energy. In 2019, the state had the fifth largest amount of wind capacity in the United States. Now, California is looking to offshore for help in its transition to a carbon-free electric system by 2045.

Estimates by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory show that California has the technical potential for more than 100 gigawatts of offshore wind. The vast majority of those resources are located in deep water.

Wind turbines off the East Coast are generally mounted on the seabed because the continental shelf tends to slope gently away from the coast . Turbines on the West Coast must be attached to floating platforms because the continental shelf drops off steeply a few miles from the coast.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) partnered with Guidehouse Consulting to publish recommendations for developing cost-effective offshore wind projects.

The report, “Research and Development Opportunities for Offshore Wind Energy in California,” was funded through the CEC’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program, the state’s premier public interest research program that drives clean energy innovation and entrepreneurship to help meet the state’s climate and energy goals.

“This work supported by EPIC is an important investment into identifying research activities to overcome challenges to deploying floating offshore wind turbines,” said Commissioner Karen Douglas. “Some of these challenges include limited information from the handful of floating demonstrations from around the globe, the depth of the ocean offshore California, the cost of floating technology, and potential impacts on species, habitats, and other ocean uses.”

The report identifies 10 key barriers to offshore wind energy development and 11 research, development, and deployment opportunities that could lower the development risk of offshore energy projects by removing or reducing technological, manufacturing, logistical, and supply chain barriers.

The recommendations are based on case studies of global markets, interviews with various stakeholders, public comment, and a review of more than 200 independent research efforts in the offshore wind industry.

Learn more at the CEC’s efforts at the offshore wind research and development database.

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