April 18, 2024
There’s a reason offshore wind developers are all running to the fertile territory of California, a land of high taxes, high utility prices, and institutionalized climate crisis conniptions. They’re failing everywhere else.

Floating Offshore Wind Projects Will Squander Hundreds of Billions of Dollars

From a financial perspective, offshore wind, should it go forward, will be the biggest waste of money ever imposed on the backs of working Californians

In December 2022, after years of planning, the U.S. Dept. of the Interior sold rights to develop offshore wind in five lease areas off the California coast. Five companies submitted successful bids, paying a total of $757 million for development rights.

These leases are located 20 miles off the California coast in water approximately 4,000 feet deep. The floating wind turbines will be tethered to the ocean floor with cables, and each of them will also require a high-voltage transmission cable that will pass through the water and traverse the sea bottom for 20 miles to connect to the grid onshore.

The environmental impact and logistical challenges of installing and operating these floating leviathans are devastating. With 25 gigawatts of installed “nameplate capacity” called for by 2045, even at 10 megawatts per wind turbine, this would require 2,500 floating turbines. Each one would tower roughly 1,000 feet from the water line to the tip of a rotor blade in vertical position, with substantial additional structure required underwater in the form of floatation pontoons and counterweights. To put this in perspective, these dimensions are longer than a modern American supercarrier.

Imagine the impact on the California coast as port facilities are constructed, along with substations, transmission lines, battery farms, housing and services for workers, and new access roads. Imagine the impact on whales and other marine life of submarines installing concrete underwater to anchor the tethering cables or laying high-voltage lines on the sea floor. Imagine the operating impact of thousands of rotors turning along avian flyways or the impact of high-voltage electrical waves and mechanical vibrations from the rotor being transmitted into the ocean depths from an obstacle course of thousands of tethering and power cables, each one nearly a mile in length. Where is the coastal commission? Where is Greenpeace? Where are the regulators that won’t allow desalination plants with a footprint that is negligible by comparison? Where are the environmentalists whose entire business model is litigation?

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