California Dreaming: Historic offshore wind project will help bolster state's economy

The Biden administration announced California's first offshore wind development project, which will create thousands of jobs.
Our special series "California Dreaming" takes a closer look at the issues that are threatening the California Dream and the people working to keep the dream alive.

As part of a commitment to a clean energy future, the Biden administration announced a bold move to open the Pacific Coast for its first offshore wind development project. The historic milestone will not only bolster the Golden State's economy, it will also help the state reach its carbon-free energy goal by 2045.

"We have the potential to be a world leader in offshore wind. It's a breakthrough for California. We're talking thousands of jobs," said Adam Stern, executive director of the Offshore Wind California organization.

"There's going to be a whole diversity of public health benefits," said Kelly T. Sanders, an associate professor with the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at USC. "I like to think about this as an economic boom and investment in our future."

"Younger generations, my generation, Generation Z, really is super excited," said Kevin J. Patel, founder of One Up Action. "It's one step closer to getting rid of the fossil fuel industry."

The technology for the proposed offshore wind turbines are enormous. Sanders says they will be nearly 900-feet tall each and will be located 20 to 30 miles offshore.

The two sites are on the Central Coast at Morro Bay and Humboldt Bay. These sites offer the potential to provide enough electricity for more than 1.5 million California residents.

"To invest in clean energy gives our communities, communities of color, marginalized communities, low-income communities, a breath of fresh air," said Patel.

Many people question if building offshore wind farms is environmentally safe to our rich marine life. Experts say wind turbines offshore will not harm marine life and are optimistic the path will open doors to a clean, sustainable future.

"We have a long legacy of protecting our coastline. In fact, the California coast for many people is a sacred resource," said Stern. "We're very optimistic that we can develop offshore wind in a way that's environmentally responsible."

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