California offshore wind promises a new gold rush while slashing emissions
The farming of wind power from American waters will be crucial in efforts to slash emissions of heat-trapping pollution from fossil fuels and ensure reliable supplies of electricity. Unions representing electricians, laborers and other trades - groups that for decades were frequently at odds with the green movement - joined environmental groups in celebrating the lease auction's results. Substantial new waterfront infrastructure will be needed at Humboldt and Morro Bay to bring electricity from offshore wind turbines onto shore, where it will power homes, electric vehicles and industry. The wind farm development rights were secured by large energy companies already developing wind farms on the East Coast, where shallower waters allow for the use of traditional tower-based designs. Some of the winning bidders are transitioning or expanding from fossil fuel to clean energy production. Offshore wind farming off the West Coast is complicated by the closeness to shore of the steep continental shelf. Waters viable for wind farming are too deep for the towers that hold most offshore turbines in place worldwide. The wind farms off California will be among the first in the world that float on giant platforms tethered to the seafloor and connected to land through electrical cables.