California’s upcoming wind boom faces major engineering hurdles | Jobs Vox


Research groups estimate that the cost could fall from about $200 per megawatt-hour to between $58 and $120 by 2030. This would make floating offshore wind more expensive than solar and onshore wind, but it could still play an important role in an overall energy portfolio. ,

Technology is also improving. The turbines themselves are becoming taller to generate more electricity and revenue from any given site. Some research groups and companies are also developing new types of floating platforms and delivery mechanisms that could make it easier to operate within the constraints of ports and bridges.

Denmark-based company Steedal has developed a modular, floating platform with a keel that doesn’t snap into place until deep sea, allowing it to be towed out of relatively shallow harbours.

Meanwhile, San Francisco startup Aikido Technologies is developing a way of shipping turbines horizontally and then hoisting them up into the deep sea, allowing the structures to duck under bridges along the way. The company believes its designs provide enough clearance for developers to access any US port. Some 80% of these ports have height limits due to bridges or airport restrictions.

Several federal, state and local organizations are evaluating California and other US ports, assessing which may be best positioned to serve floating wind projects and which upgrades are needed to make this possible. Might be possible.

Government policies in the US, EU, China and elsewhere are also providing incentives to develop offshore wind turbines, domestic manufacturing and supporting infrastructure. It also includes a law to reduce inflation, on which Biden took the form of law this summer.

Finally, as for California’s permitting challenges, Hochschild notes that the same 2021 law that requires the state’s energy commission to set offshore wind targets requires it to lay out the long-term planning needed to meet them. is also required. This includes devising a strategy to streamline the approval process.

For all of floating wind’s promise, there’s little question that massive investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, and more will be needed to ensure its cost-competitiveness and achieve the envisioned goals, and large projects will do just that. Will have to be made at a speed which the state itself has not shown. able in recent times.

If it can pull it off, though, California could become a leading player in an important new clean energy sector, harnessing its vast coastal resources to meet its ambitious climate goals.


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