Offshore wind turbines
Offshore wind turbines. Photo courtesy NOAA

The White House announced preliminary plans Tuesday to develop two giant wind energy farms off the coast of California.

Sites off the cities of Morro Bay in Central California and Eureka in Northern California could produce up 4.6 gigawatts of electricity — slightly more than the now decommissioned San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

“This historic announcement, which could provide clean power for up to 1.6 million homes over the next decade, represents the innovative approach we need for a clean energy economy,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom after the White House announcement.

Because the outer continental shelf falls away quickly into much deeper water in the Pacific, new floating offshore turbines would be deployed to keep the equipment out of sight from the coast.

The Department of Energy has invested more than $100 million in researching, developing, and demonstrating floating offshore wind technology.

Alla Weinstein, CEO of Castle Wind, the developer of one proposed floating offshore wind
farm off Morro Bay, said California is poised to be a world leader in the developing technology.

“Castle Wind stands alongside our industry partners in applauding the Biden-Harris administration and Newsom administration for advancing a landmark agreement to support the development of offshore wind projects in the Pacific,” Weinstein said. “California is poised to be a world leader in floating offshore wind technology and has a world-class offshore wind resource off its coast.”

Tuesday’s announcement comes just weeks after the Biden administration approved the first major offshore wind project in American waters — a wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts, powering 400,000 homes.

Updated at 4:15 p.m., Tuesday, May 25, 2021

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.