California finalizes plan to develop offshore wind

By Heather Richards | 06/27/2024 06:53 AM EDT

An industry group called the framework “a watershed moment” that would allow floating farms to be built along the state’s coast.

Three types of potential floating wind platforms.

An illustration of three types of potential floating wind platforms. Joshua Bauer/National Renewable Energy Laboratory

California’s chief energy planning agency has released a final road map to reach 25 gigawatts of floating offshore wind, calling for upgrading numerous ports and a massive build-out of transmission.

The California Energy Commission’s strategic plan, released Tuesday, examines environmental impacts of floating wind development, identifies areas of the Pacific Ocean that could support projects and considers how the state should liaison with Native American Tribes. The road map focuses on floating projects because waters off of the state’s coast are too deep for traditional turbine foundations to reach the seafloor.

The state will need a significant amount of offshore wind to reach its goal of carbon neutrality by 2045, meaning it would cut as much carbon emissions as it emits. But the industry’s rapid build-out will require tremendous coordination across California energy and environment agencies, as well as coordination with tribal governments, fishermen and environmentalists.


“This is one of the single most complex processes I’ve been involved with,” said David Hochschild, chair of the commission.