California possesses significant offshore wind resources, and the development of floating offshore wind energy holds promise as a source of renewable energy generation for the state. It will also provide employment opportunities and economic benefits. While fixed bottom foundations are more common for shallow waters, the deep waters of the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf off California's coast will require floating platforms anchored to the seabed. Although the global floating offshore wind market is still in its early stages, the technology is expected to advance rapidly, positioning California as a leader in the field. California is committed to balancing environmental, cultural, socioeconomic, regulatory, and economic considerations while planning for the development of floating offshore wind. The protection of coastal and ocean resources is a priority, as California is home to one of the world's most diverse coastal and ocean ecosystems, with over 1,100 miles of coastline.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) is actively involved in various initiatives to understand the potential opportunities and responsible deployment of floating offshore wind energy off the coast of California. This includes the establishment of the California Offshore Wind Energy Gateway. The CEC is also working in collaboration with various state agencies, such as the California Coastal Commission (CCC), the Ocean Protection Council (OPC), the California State Lands Commission (CSLC), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and the Office of Planning and Research (OPR). The CCC is responsible for implementing the California Coastal Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act, which necessitate the Commission's review and approval of all developments within California's Coastal Zone, including offshore wind projects. The OPC advises the governor and legislature on ocean and coastal issues, while the CSLC manages State-owned lands, including navigable waterways and submerged lands up to three nautical miles offshore. The CDFW has jurisdiction over the conservation and protection of fish, wildlife, native plants, and habitats essential for biologically sustainable species populations, including marine biodiversity protection in California's coastal marine waters. The CPUC is responsible for authorizing electric utility rates and procurement and conducting integrated resource planning, while the OPR focuses on studying future research and planning needs related to climate risk, resilience, and economic development.