United States

United States

BOEM seeks interest for California site

UNITED STATES: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in the US has issued a call for interest for the proposed Morro Bay project off California.

A 765MW floating project has been proposed for a site 24km off Morro Bay, California (pic: Kjkolb)
A 765MW floating project has been proposed for a site 24km off Morro Bay, California (pic: Kjkolb)

In September 2015, developer Trident Winds submitted plans for a 765MW floating wind project, 24km off the US coast.

BOEM is now gauging interest from the market to decide whether to award the site on a competitive or non-competitive basis.

"This is a compelling opportunity that would assist California in meeting its ambitious and critically important renewable energy goals," said BOEM director Abigail Hopper.

"According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, areas off the US west coast and Hawaii could generate 1.5 terawatts of offshore wind energy, enough to power more than 500 million homes," BOEM added.

In March 2016, BOEM found that the unsolicited request from Trident Winds was complete. If no further interest is shown, BOEM said it would proceed with awarding the lease on a non-competitive basis.

Public comment is also being sought for Trident's 100-turbine project proposal, BOEM added.

Trident's Morro Bay Offshore project would be installed 24km west of Point Estero near Morro Bay in central California. The water is deep, at about 460-915 metres, and the wind speed is a consistent 7-8m/s.

A possible advantage for a Morro Bay offshore wind project is a nearby retired water-cooled natural gas plant, as well as a substation and transmission line owned by utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). Dynegy's 650MW "Three Fingers" power plant, dating from the 1950s, has a water inlet that Trident believes could contain the project's export cable.

In October 2015, California approved an aggressive 50% renewable portfolio standard, which is expected to boost the state's wind power by a range of 11GW to 21GW by 2030.

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