California Initiates Offshore Renewables Task Force

offshore wind

By MarEx 2016-05-31 20:23:55

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced it will initiate planning with the State of California to establish an Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force to examine opportunities for offshore renewable energy development.

California Governor Jerry Brown requested formation of the task force in a May 12 letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. The announcement was made during a BOEM-sponsored Offshore Wind Roundtable that brought together representatives from foreign governments, state policymakers, experts in offshore wind and members of industry to share information on offshore wind development. The roundtable was convened in advance of the 7th Clean Energy Ministerial meeting being held this week in San Francisco, California.

"California is now part of a worldwide movement of states and provinces that have committed themselves to combating climate change," said Brown at the meeting.

The task force, a non-decisional entity, will facilitate coordination and communication in a partnership between BOEM and state, local and tribal governments and federal agencies concerning potential renewable energy leasing for research activities and commercial development on federal submerged lands on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), offshore California.

“While offshore renewable energy resources have not yet played a significant role in California’s energy system, they present important potential future opportunities,” said Brown in his May 12 letter. “There are significant offshore resources along most of California’s coast that complement the profile of onshore solar resources, and new developments in offshore wind technology – such as larger facilities that are not visible from land and present little to no adverse avian impacts – will likely make projects more viable.”

BOEM has established Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Forces for 13 other coastal states, which provide critical information for our decision-making process, including how to resolve potential conflicts between development and environmental concerns and other uses. 

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, areas of the west coast of the United States (and Hawaii) hold great renewable energy potential. In particular, these areas have the potential to generate over 1.5 terawatts of offshore wind energy. This potential presents a compelling market opportunity that would assist states in meeting many of their ambitious and critically important renewable energy goals, says BOEM.