Favorable Winds for Offshore Wind Energy

In another far-flung field trip, Sen. John Laird took a detour to see the floating wind farms in the North Sea while attending the recent UN Climate Change Conference in Scotland.

“This educational visit was timely and illuminating as I work to secure offshore wind energy development along California’s Central Coast,” Laird said. “It is clear that offshore wind energy must play a critical role in the greening of our energy sector.”

With the world’s largest floating wind farm, Scotland is ahead of the West Coast and can inform deployment of the technology off the coast of San Luis Obispo and other parts of the state, Laird said. Laird shared the state’s own climate leadership lessons with his COP26 talk California Rising: Fighting Fire, Finding Water, and Charting a Renewable Future through Offshore Wind.

The Big Picture: Momentum for offshore wind is building at the state and federal levels.

  • Gov. Newsom’s proposed 2022-23 budget includes $45 million to kickstart offshore wind with an Offshore Wind Energy Deployment Facility Improvement Program to invest in facility planning and development to support floating wind farm deployment in federal waters off the coast.
  • The federal government will hold its largest-to-date offshore wind lease auction, with capacity for generating up to 7 gigawatts of energy off New York and New Jersey, in February. It’s also investing more than $50 million in new port and supply chain projects to speed industry development.
  • New interagency collaboration between the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM),  which is charged with overseeing the deployment of offshore wind energy off the SLO County coast, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which will decide on the proposed Chumash National Marine Sanctuary, paves the way for advancing offshore wind while protecting marine ecosystems and resources and promoting cooperative ocean use.

Also of note: As part of its big bet on offshore wind, New Jersey is establishing a Wind Innovation and New Development (WIND) Institute to centralize and coordinate education, research, innovation and workforce training.