California is generally a front-runner when it comes to making some serious moves in the world of conservation and green energy efforts. In yet another example, residents of the Golden State can expect to see a ton of offshore wind farms popping up in the waters along California’s coast. However, not all of those waters are completely open to the green energy sources. The US Navy has determined that much of the coastline in California would be off limits to such wind farms—specifically the waters off of San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Those prohibitions may not stand for long, though, as officials from both the state and the federal levels are working with the Department of Defense to free up some of those allegedly “off-limits” waters.
There are a few offshore wind farms already in place along the East coast of the United States, but those are different structures altogether. Those particular units can easily be anchored in the relatively shallow waters of the Atlantic. California won’t have that luxury, thanks to the dramatic drop off in depth along the continental shelf there. As such, the wind farms off California will need to “float.” They’ll be anchored to the ocean floor via cables, but the anchors themselves won’t be embedded in the bottom.
However, not much will happen until an agreement can be reached with the US Navy regarding the locations of the farms. Last year, the Navy issued a color-coded map that highlighted California’s coast and their approved areas for the farms. Red areas meant no farms could be constructed at all, yellow indicated areas where there were some site-specific restrictions, and green areas were completely open for the farms. As it turned out, all of Southern California’s coast, from Mexico to Big Sur, was marked red. When asked why so much water was off limits, the Navy said that wind farms in that area would conflict with the Navy and Marine Corp’s missions on and below the water. An update last February made even more of the state off limits.
While negotiations are still underway to open up more of California’s coast, the northern portion of the state provides plenty of opportunity for the farms, as the wind is usually more intense the further up the state you move. Regardless of the outcome, you can expect California to be a leader in terms of green wind energy in the coming years.