Could the Pacific Ocean be California’s Savior?

From the earliest exploration by European explorers of what became California, its position on the western coast of the North American continent has been its most important attribute.

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Its coastline allowed that exploration and the development of outposts while most of the continent was still a mysterious wilderness. It fostered the 1849 gold rush that hastened California statehood. Its beaches drew millions of visitors. It made California the arsenal and staging point for World War II’s Pacific Theater and, finally, it became a focal point of global oceanic trade.

Could California’s coastal waters now become its savior, ending ever-increasing shortages of water and electrical energy that threaten the state’s economic and societal future?

Yes it could, but only if California’s political and civic leaders overcome their tendency to muff big public works — as symbolized by the bullet train’s history of over-spending and under-performing, decades of foot-dragging on much-needed water storage projects, and crippling bottlenecks at the state’s ports.

Finally, after decades of dithering, California’s Byzantine bureauracy is finally warming up to desalination of seawater as a vital piece of the state’s water supply, although it still resists big projects that could have real impact on shortages as it does in other water-short nations.

Meanwhile, California is just beginning to grasp the potential of offshore windmills to generate huge amounts of renewable electrical energy that would help close the state’s current supply gap, fill enormous new demands, and meet the state’s ambitious goals for ending its dependence on fossil fuels.

Last week, the federal government conducted auctions for windpower development rights on two oceanic sites, one 20 miles west of Morro Bay and the other off Humboldt County.

Advocates believe the sites could generate up to 8 gigawatts of electrical power, about one-sixth of the state’s current peak power demand on hot summer days and about a third of the state’s goal of 25 gigawatts of offshore windpower by 2045.

“Offshore wind is a critical component to achieving our world-leading clean energy goals and this sale is an historic step on California’s march toward a future free of fossil fuels,” Newsom said in a statement.

However, given the state’s sorry record on big-impact projects, will it really happen? Will we, as state plans now suggest, really see offshore power begin to flow into the grid within 10 years?

Don’t count on it.

The floating platforms to support the immense windmills, anchored in more than 2,000 feet of water, face critical attention from environmental groups and a phalanx of federal and state regulatory hurdles. They also would require onshore support facilities in coastal communities where resistance to development is culturally ingrained, plus cables to bring the power to shore and extensive expansions of transmission facilities to tie into the grid.

The time frame to make all of this happen, as the state assumes in its overall plan to shift California to renewable electric power, is very short. We’re now 22 years into the 21st century and supposedly all of this would occur in just 23 more years — simultaneously with many other elements of decarbonization, such as shifting to battery- or hydrogen-powered cars and trucks and eliminating natural gas in homes, business and industry.

It would take an immense cultural change in the state’s governing apparatus to make it all happen by the designated deadline, a sense of urgency, a unity of purpose, and much more managerial competence than California has mustered in the last half-century.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters


  1. HUMMMMM, they want to put them in the channel.

    They will create harmonic sound that the Whale folks want to protect. If they break in a massive storm where will the fiberglass blades wind up? By golly I’ll be in the ocean… know another toxic item the environmentalist want to stop.

    Where will the hundreds of gallons of gear oil wind up when the break and sink?

    Getting it yet. Democrats are only that dumb when it comes to politics …. forget reality.

  2. Letting government be in charge of ANY major project is a criminal action by government. They have proven that 90 percent of the time the project fails, spends many times the amount of money stated in their plan or very often is a payoff to unions, big corporations, special interest groups or even foreign governments. This plan contains all of those elements – plus it is doomed to failure because controlling the wind, ocean, currents, weather, traffic in the area, maintenance,and absurd cost just leaves the people of America paying the bill when we have little money left. Likely that is exactly the plan (by those that want to centralize control of ALL we do).

  3. Boris Badenov says

    The ONLY potential for off shore windmills or windmills anywhere is to scrap them and their fantasy world. I believe it is the Netherlands that is shutting down their off shore wind farms because it’s an ecological disaster for ocean life. Much like the ones murdering birds. Not to mention they don’t last long in the salt water, less time than the land ones and they are awful.

  4. just exactly where has the so-called ‘Emnironmnetal PROTECTION Agency’ been on this one??? we can’t drill for our MUCH-NEEDED energy off the coast, but we can put up ugly, bird-killing, navigational hazards off the coast!! the communist fascist racist moronic satanic Democrats only fix problems they cause with MORE problems………and they like throwing enormous amounts of money they don’t have, at problems that don’t exist, for solutions that don’t work!!! What will these inept, incompetent ibeciles think of next??

  5. The only benefit of the Ocean is it will eventually swallow the landmass known as ‘california’ (‘commiefornia’ is a more descriptive name)!

    This event would result in major pollution to the world’s oceans.

    Go East young man, go East!

  6. I remember reading about a European country that invested (wasted) $billions into ocean windmills only to find out political wind expectations were wild assed guesses.
    Natural gas is by far the cleanest and most economical fossil fuel in existence today. By developing and selling our natural gas we could easily and cheaply lower emissions worldwide. And become energy independent again and start to regain the power to fight off China when they decide it is time to take us over.
    “Saving the world” hype comes at a cost. Many people will die this winter because of the politically motivated “war on fossil fuels”… Green New Deal fiasco. Wantonly taking away access to heat with no back up will upset entire nations, mostly the poor ones. As soon as common sense can be restored we can get back to being the energy independent meritocracy that once made us the envy of the WORLD.

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