A Seattle company is proposing to build the state’s first ocean wind farm off of Morro Bay on the Central Coast. Trident Energy has filed early paperwork with the city of Morro Bay prior to seeking approval of the project, says the San Jose Mercury News.
Trident wants to build 100 floating turbines, some rising more than 630 feet above the water. The turbines would be about 15 miles off the coast and spaced about half a mile apart, covering 40,000 acres of ocean.
The company says the wind farm would generate enough electricity to power about 300,000 homes.
The project would help power suppliers meet new clean energy mandates set down by Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislature. Utilities will be required to get 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Currently about 20 percent of the state’s energy comes from green sources, but only 1.5 percent is from wind.
The proposed wind farm is setting up a conflict between clean-energy advocates and coastal conservation groups who have spent decades fighting offshore drilling. They are already expressing concerns about the prospect of giant towers looming off the coast south of Big Sur. Fishermen are also wary of the project.The first offshore wind farm in the U.S. is under construction off the coast of Rhode Island, and is set to open in 2017.
The U.S. Department of Energy has found vast untapped potential with wind power. The federal agency estimates that off-shore wind alone could produce 4,150 gigawatts of electricity – several times more than all of the power plants in the U.S. combined.
Morro Bay would be the first floating wind farm in the U.S. Trident says it hopes start generating power in 2025.