This study combines multi-year mesoscale modeling results, validated using offshore buoys with high-resolution bathymetry to create a wind energy resource assessment for offshore California (CA). The siting of an offshore wind farm is limited by water depth, with shallow water being generally preferable economically. Acceptable depths for offshore wind farms are divided into three categories: ≤20 m depth for monopile turbine foundations, ≤50 m depth for multi-leg turbine foundations, and ≤200 m depth for deep water floating turbines. The CA coast was further divided into three logical areas for analysis: Northern, Central, and Southern CA. A mesoscale meteorological model was then used at high horizontal resolution (5 and 1.67 km) to calculate annual 80 m wind speeds (turbine hub height) for each area, based on the average of the seasonal months January, April, July, and October of 2005/2006 and the entirety of 2007 (12 months). A 5 MW offshore wind turbine was used to create a preliminary resource assessment for offshore CA. Each geographical region was then characterized by its coastal transmission access, water depth, wind turbine development potential, and average 80 m wind speed. Initial estimates show that 1.4–2.3 GW, 4.4–8.3 GW, and 52.8–64.9 GW of deliverable power could be harnessed from offshore CA using monopile, multi-leg, and floating turbine foundations, respectively. A single proposed wind farm near Cape Mendocino could deliver an average 800 MW of gross renewable power and reduce CA's current carbon emitting electricity generation 4% on an energy basis. Unlike most of California's land based wind farms which peak at night, the offshore winds near Cape Mendocino are consistently fast throughout the day and night during all four seasons.
California Offshore Wind Energy Potential
Dvorak, M.; Archer, C.; Jacobson, M. (2010). California Offshore Wind Energy Potential. Renewable Energy, 35(10), 1244-1254.