California needs to tap offshore wind

Dan Jacobson Energy Solutions

California needs to tap offshore wind
Photo by Anand Dandekar from Pexels

We all saw Greta Thunberg’s eyes. We saw her face. We heard her voice quivering as she urged the members of the United Nations last week to do more to fight back against the ravages of climate change.

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” the teenage Swedish activist said. “People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing ... How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just ‘business as usual’ and some technical solutions?”

As global temperatures rise, bringing with it the fury of a generation that will have to live with the consequences, we know we need to do more — we must do more — to fight this existential crisis.

Even in California, where we already have set some of the world’s most aggressive climate goals, our 100% carbon-free targets and plans for millions of electric vehicles are only part of what’s necessary to reckon with the social and moral issues we face.

If California is going to do everything it can to fight back against climate change — and serve as a model for the rest of the world — that means tapping all of the resources at our disposal.

To slow the spread of forest fires, drought and rising sea levels, we need to accelerate every one of our clean energy strategies.

We need to tap the lithium ion in the Salton Sea and use it to power tens of millions more electric cars. We need to develop more battery storage so we can harness the sun’s power day and night — and electrify our buildings and transportation networks.

We also need to expand our horizons and find a way to harness the wind off our coast to power an electric grid that will rely more than ever on clean, renewable energy.

California already gets more than a third of its power from our state’s vast quantities of sun, wind and geothermal energy resources. But we have even more clean energy waiting for us 25 miles off the coast. We need to go and get it.

This is the opportunity — and the challenge — bringing an international group of energy experts to San Francisco this week for a conference on how to tap the huge amounts of wind energy blowing across the Pacific Rim.

It’s also the impetus for a California Energy Commission meeting on Thursday, where state agencies will consider policies to support floating offshore wind technology.

There’s a lot to like about offshore wind —and even better, there is a lot of it

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