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May 26, 2021updated 14 Jun 2021 12:52pm

US to open up California coast for offshore wind development

These wind power projects could generate 4.6GW of clean energy, enough to power 1.6 million homes over the next ten years.

By Umesh Ellichipuram

The US Federal Government and the California Government have announced an agreement to open up more than 25,000 acres off the West Coast for commercial-scale offshore wind development.

Under this pact, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) plans to offer lease sale as early as next year.

The wind power projects will be built in the federal waters of Morro Bay and Humboldt Bay.

These sites could generate 4.6GW of clean energy, enough to power 1.6 million homes over the next ten years.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said: “Developing offshore wind to produce clean, renewable energy could be a game changer for achieving California’s clean energy goals and addressing climate change, all while bolstering the economy and creating new jobs.

“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 that protects the coasts, fisheries, marine life and tribal and cultural resources we value so much as Californians.”

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Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said: “The offshore wind industry has the potential to create tens of thousands of good-paying union jobs across the nation, while combating the negative effects of climate change.

“[The] Interior is proud to be part of an all-of-government approach toward the Biden-Harris administration’s ambitious renewable energy goals.”

Governor Newsom has also proposed $20m in funding to support the state’s offshore wind capacity, as part of the California Comeback Plan.

The agreement will focus on the use of floating offshore wind platforms with more than 95% of the proposed lease sale site, located 20 to 30 miles off the California Coast.

In March, the US Government announced a national goal to create 30GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, in an effort to cut 78 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

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