California moves closer to installing floating offshore wind

Source: By Heather Richards, E&E News • Posted: Saturday, June 15, 2024

The Canopy Offshore Wind project, which will soon start mapping the seafloor, could be one of the first floating arrays in the U.S.

An illustration of floating offshore wind turbines.

An illustration of floating offshore wind turbines. Josh Bauer/National Renewable Energy Laboratory

A California floating wind project is launching a survey of the seafloor this month, in a first step toward bringing the nascent industry to the northern Pacific Ocean.

Canopy Offshore Wind, developed by the German energy company RWE, could power more than 600,000 homes if it is built 20 miles off the coast of Humboldt in Northern California. The survey will map the contours of the ocean floor, photograph deep-sea habitats and use a magnetometer and geophysical data to find hazards beneath the seabed.

“Surveying is an important step on the path toward developing Canopy Offshore Wind and helping provide clean energy that meets California’s ambitious climate goals,” Sam Eaton, CEO of RWE Offshore Wind Holdings, said in a statement.

The Biden administration sold the country’s first-ever wind leases off the California coast in 2022, as part of an effort to power 10 million U.S. homes with offshore wind by the end of the decade. That included Canopy’s lease, which could support as much as 1.6 gigawatts of wind power.