(planned) floating floating wind farm locations

Floating Urbanisation

Wind Energy

Created at: 23 Oct 2022


(planned) floating floating wind farm locations

Projects taking off

As for California, two areas off the coast of Humboldt and three areas near Morro Bay, totalling a combined 373,000 acres, have so far been identified as prime floating wind farm locations. If fully developed, the projects could generate 4,500 megawatts of electricity, or enough power for 1.5 million homes.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management expects to put leases for those five areas up to auction by the end of the year for companies that want to bid for the right to potentially develop wind farms there, according to agency spokesman John Romero.

Earlier this year, eight offshore wind farm areas in New York and North Carolina were auctioned for a combined $4.7 billion. Some of the winning bidders included a Charlotte-based utility company and the U.S. renewables arm of the French oil company TotalEnergies.

After a winning bid is chosen, that firm then has up to five years to study the area and submit specific plans for the project it wants to build. After that, the plan must go through numerous regulatory agencies for approval before construction can begin.

That lengthy process is why, though global energy consultant Wood Mackenzie predicts California will hit 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind power in the next decade, the firm predicts all of those projects will come online in 2030 and 2031.

Federal regulators identified the areas off Morro Bay and Humboldt after studying a wide range of factors, from wind speeds to environmental sensitivity to existing ocean uses, Romero said.

Much of California’s coastline, particularly in Southern California, is now designated off limits for such projects by the Department of Defense. A study by NREL found that, given the Defense department’s current perimeters, only 88,000 megawatts of wind power could potentially be installed off the California coast. But the report says another 428,000 megawatts are possible if the department allows wind projects in its exclusion zones.

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Floris Boogaard

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