Biden administration banking on California’s massive offshore winds for energy

President Biden wants offshore wind generation to make a huge contribution to the regional energy grids on the coasts where most Americans live. The breath and breadth of the huge proposal could eventually solve many of the world’s energy needs for a long time to come.

Biden’s offshore wind plan is as bold and broad as an energy plan presented in generations. The president is proposing huge floating wind farms tethered to the ocean floor, connected to underwater transmission lines that supply massive power to power grids.

The US Department of Energy says floating turbines can produce up to 2.8 terawatts of clean energy, more than double the current demand for electricity in America. “There is tremendous energy potential here, but the other thing to remember about offshore wind is that it is three to four times more expensive than onshore wind,” said Professor James Bushnell, an economist at the UC Energy Institute.

The wind industry supports CaliforniaWindCA.org, a wealthy advocate of wind energy. “One of the specific commitments that the Biden administration has made is that they have set a goal of cutting costs by 70% by 2035, which is roughly the time frame in which offshore wind in California would be needed,” says Adam Stern, CEO of CaliforniaWindCA.org.

As for polluting the coastal landscape, even giant wind generators 800 feet high can be put off site and out of the heart. “These offshore wind farms would be 20 miles offshore, so basically out of sight that people would have on most days,” said Mr. Tern.

There are huge environmental problems that need to be solved. What about the cords that injure marine life? What damage can they do to underwater habitats or fishing grounds? “There are still environmental issues that need to be addressed, but it’s much more manageable being this far offshore,” Stern said.

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Ocean winds are more stable, stronger winds even after sunset work very well with offshore wind farms. Such farms are already operating off the coast of Maine. That’s because in much of the northeast they really don’t have places to put wind on land,” said Professor Bushnell.

The western states have many onshore windy sites that can be used, but there is a cost to build the power lines and other infrastructures to get that power to California. “It is my understanding that offshore wind will get a large tax credit than many other forms of renewable energy, which will help increase its competitiveness,” Bushnell said.

Offshore wind farms, unlike those in the interior of the west, would require many California workers to build and maintain the offshore wind farms.

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