California may get floating offshore wind farm

floating offshore wind, California

The US, despite its bleating about the wonderfulness of its renewable energy, still has no offshore wind farms. A little dinky 30 MW wind farm off Rhode Island may be operational next year. Meanwhile, Britain and Europe have huge offshore wind projects with more coming.

Trident Winds proposes installing a ginormous floating wind farm 25 miles offshore from Cambria CA. I wish them luck. NIMBYs and Very Concerned Citizens will no doubt wallpaper them with lawsuits while a ponderous state regulatory system requires endless EIR reports. Yes, it’s a good thing that everyone can can involved and yes, regulations need to be tough. However, offshore wind has a tiny environmental impact compared to other sources of energy and somehow Britain has managed to produce 10% of its power (5 GW) from offshore wind without, y’know, the oceans dying or something catastrophic happening. Just saying. Any source of power will have environmental impacts. Wind and solar are about as benign as it gets.

The Carlsbad CA desalination plant near San Diego is finally operational. It took them years to get the necessary permits and get past the NIMBYs. That’s just too long.

The Trident project calls for mounting 100 turbines on floating foundations in water that’s roughly half a mile deep. Floating foundations, which are kept in place with anchors and cables, have so far been used only in small pilot projects in places such as Portugal, Norway and Scotland. The anchors themselves may be giant concrete blocks or huge steel structures with hooks that grab the sea floor, not unlike a ship’s anchor.

Floating wind is more expensive than fixed wind. So that may impact whether the wind farm is built.

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