Renewables push for California and western US

UNITED STATES: The Department of the Interior (DoI) and California state government have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop renewables and two new transmission lines in the western US have been approved.

Californian wind projects, onshore and offshore, will be afforded priority status (pic: Twitter/Sally Jewell)

The MoU will see federal and state agencies work more closely on developing renewable energy, particularly onshore and offshore wind. 

DoI secretary Sally Jewell signed the deal with California state governor Jerry Brown.

"A high priority is placed on processing applications for renewable energy projects in areas that minimise environmental effects, make efficient use of existing transmission systems and are consistent with ongoing cooperative planning efforts," the DoI said. 

Offshore wind projects will also be afforded priority status by the "intergovernmental renewable energy task force", comprising the Bureau of Ocean Management and California representatives. 

There has been a lot of interest in Californian offshore wind. In September 2015, Trident Winds revealed plans for a 1GW floating offshore wind project for a site 24km from Morro Bay in central California. 

Offshore developer Statoil has also responded to BOEM's request for interest in the Californian site with its own plan. 

California has set a target to source of 50% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, and its climate change plan is the nation's most ambitious. 

The state currently gets about 30% of its electricity from renewable energy.


The DoI has also approved construction of two transmission lines to carry 4.5GW of renewable energy across the western US.

The Energy Gateway South line will carry 1.5GW across Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Meanwhile, the 1,000-kilometre TransWest Express connection will deliver 3GW of energy from southern Wyoming to south Nevada, the DoI said.

"These efforts strengthen our commitment to work with state and local communities to unlock the west's abundant renewable energy resources, create jobs and support development that makes sense for both the economy and the environment," said Jewell.