White House announces plan for wind farms off California’s coast

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Federal and state officials have announced plans to develop two wind farm sites off the coast of California.

The projects could ultimately generate enough electricity to power about 1.6 million homes, the White House said Tuesday.

Wind power is a key part of President Biden’s plan to shift toward renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The two announced projects are a major step toward the White House’s goal of doubling US offshore wind production by 2030.

“The offshore wind industry has the potential to create tens of thousands of good-paying union jobs across the nation, while combating the negative effects of climate change,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a statement.

One of the project sites would be off the central coast of California while the other would be off Northern California, near the Oregon border. The White House said they would be the first US commercial-scale wind projects off the Pacific Coast.

“Developing offshore wind to produce clean, renewable energy could be a game changer to achieving California’s clean energy goals and addressing climate change — all while bolstering the economy and creating new jobs,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.

The announcement came just weeks after the White House approved the first commercial-scale offshore wind project in US waters off the coast of Massachusetts. 

The Massachusetts site will use General Electric’s massive Haliade-X wind turbines. It’s not yet known what company will provide and maintain the turbines for the two sites off California. 

The US has lagged Europe in development of offshore wind energy, and the projects that do exist have concentrated along the Atlantic Coast. 

Developing offshore wind power in the Pacific Ocean presents new logistical challenges for a variety of reasons, including that the outer continental shelf drops off much closer to shore than in the Atlantic. 

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