New proposed bill sets ambitious offshore wind farm target

By Paul Rogers, The Mercury News, February 11, 2021

“From Scotland to Norway, China to Rhode Island, thousands of giant turbines generate clean energy in oceans around the world. But none is off California’s coast.

“On [February 11], a coalition of labor, industry and environmental groups came together to change that, endorsing a new bill (Chiu, D-San Francisco) that would require California to set a target of constructing 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030, enough to power hundreds of thousands of homes, and 10,000 megawatts by 2040.

“The three most likely locations for the first big farms are off San Luis Obispo County, off Morro Bay and the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, which will be decommissioned in 2025, and off Humboldt County.

“Labor unions have already endorsed the bill.

“But [offshore wind] technology in California faces major challenges. Although there are a handful of farms with floating turbines in Scotland and other areas, none has been built on the scale that California is considering. And while wind energy costs are coming down, the costs of projects off California’s coast are not yet fully understood.

“One group, Environment California, endorsed the bill Thursday, citing last year’s record wildfires, heat waves and blackouts.

“Most other environmental groups, however, are still wary.”

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