Library filed under Offshore Wind from California
Offshore wind is no longer a distant possibility in California.
Two of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, along with several other energy companies, have expressed interest in pursuing a lease to develop an offshore wind energy farm off the Central Coast. A subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell — Shell Renewables and Energy Solutions LLC — and bp America Inc. both wrote to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to express eagerness about the proposed floating offshore wind farm in the Morro Bay call area west of Cambria and San Simeon.
“At one time the call area was 120 square miles and so that’s what we decided on and that’s what the fishermen and the city thought was going to happen — and it didn’t,” Hafer said. “Then it grew immensely after that ... Now they want to take away almost 400 square miles. And so we’re basically screwed.” “I’m quite concerned that this feels like a gold rush — that the nation and offshore wind developers are just rushing for this as a solution that will help with climate change without really thinking about the consequences,” Scheiblauer said.
The depths of the Pacific Ocean makes installing traditional offshore wind turbines difficult. Floating turbines will likely be the technology of choice off the California coast.
News outlets breathlessly reported the great news that California and the feds will build a 399 square mile floating wind farm to generate electricity. The farm will be located 17 to 40 miles offshore west and north of Morro Bay, and will generate a whopping 3 Giga Watts (3 GWh) of power – enough to power a million homes. ...this is just another big sack of steaming, stinking, rotting BS that politicians hope to sell to Californians.
An offshore wind development project off the coast of Morro Bay was halted by the U.S. Navy in 2018 because the designated area conflicted with naval operations, but the project is back on track after reducing its size.
The federal government plans to open more than 250,000 acres off the California coast to wind development, the Biden administration announced Tuesday as part of a major effort to ramp up the nation’s renewable energy and cut its climate-warming emissions.
On Thursday, a coalition of labor, industry and environmental groups came together to ...endorse a new bill that would require California to set a target of constructing 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030 ...and 10,000 megawatts by 2040. Put in perspective, the larger target is nearly equal to the electrical generating capacity of all the large solar farms in California today and nearly double all the wind farms now operating on land in California.
Central Coast Congressman Salud Carbajal announced last week that the public comment period on a proposed offshore wind development off the Central Coast has now closed — and with a new commitment from the Navy in hand.
There’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding how an offshore wind farm would impact specific species off the coast, but researchers say it will change the area’s ecosystem.
Before Humboldt County begins investing in offshore wind energy, local conservationists and fishermen say more research needs to be done to assess the projects’ local impacts. That was the consensus today at a meeting of the state Senate’s Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture, hosted by committee chairman North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center in Eureka.
“While we support it in concept, we remain keenly aware that, as related to our waters, the technology is still largely unproven and untested." Some of the major concerns from environmental groups consisted of turbines affecting bird migration patterns, electromagnetic fields, underwater noises and vibrations affecting orientation and navigational abilities of marine mammals and the turbine cables that float potentially leading to whale entanglements.
The dream of Morro Bay as a new hub of offshore renewable energy production in California could be over before it even gets its sea legs — or it could just be ramping up. ...State and San Luis Obispo County leaders say they’ve been informed the Navy will likely recommend against building potential wind farms off the coast of Morro Bay and Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, something that could effectively sink hopes for the North Coast to be a new hub of renewable energy.
Gleaning energy from ocean wind would seem to be a California ideal: It emits no greenhouse gases, has nearly no environmental footprint, and harnesses one of the state’s most powerful and plentiful natural resources. But engineering challenges, regulatory hurdles and concerns about the turbines’ impact on wildlife have, until recently, mucked any forward progress.
On Friday, the federal Interior Department took the first steps to enable companies to lease waters in Central and Northern California for wind projects. If all goes as the state’s regulators and utilities expect, floating windmills could begin producing power within six years.
The proposed wind farm would consist of between 10 and 15 turbines with a combined capacity of between 100MW and 150MW and would be situated more than 32 kilometres off the coast of Eureka in northern Humboldt county. It could be commissioned in 2024, according to the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA).
The Department of Defense gatekeeper for any renewable energy project off the coast is Steve Chun, community plans and liaison officer for the Navy’s Southwest Region, based in San Diego. ...”We have now received proposals to build wind farms at 14 different offshore sites to date,” he added. ...Also behind the scenes, California — represented by the California Energy Commission and the federal Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM) — have been waiting for Department of Defense to work out its policy.
Fans of renewable energy anticipate a bonanza blowing off the coast of California.
“Information provided by BOEM to the Department of Defense indicates that the unsolicited offshore wind proposal from Trident is for an area within Department of the Navy ‘wind exclusion’ areas off the coast of Central California. These ‘wind exclusion’ areas are locations on the outer continental shelf where wind energy development will adversely impact Navy and/or Marine Corps testing, training and operational activities.”
A third problem is the bill’s requirement that the federal government sell wind leases off the California coast within a year of enactment. While wind farms can be a good source of renewable energy, they are just starting to be sited in the ocean — with none yet off the coast of California. Wind farms should not be arbitrarily rushed into existence, as this bill would do.