The California Energy Commission has approved a strategic plan to develop a massive floating offshore wind industry, with the goal of reaching 25 GW of capacity by 2045.

California's electricity grid is currently powered by nearly 35,000 MW of renewable energy, but to reach its 2045 goal, the state will need an additional 148,000 MW, which will likely require developing land and ocean space in many regions of the state.

To date, most offshore wind projects have used solid-bottom foundations, which are better suited to shallow waters. However, the west coast US state says it is eyeing floating wind turbines because they are particularly well suited to deep waters and offer several advantages, including the ability to tap into stronger and more consistent wind resources further offshore and less environmental damage to the seabed.

The project is considered the most ambitious floating wind project in the world to date and includes assessments and recommendations related to marine resources, marine spatial planning, tribal participation, fisheries relations, permitting, workforce development, transfer and port development.

It is supported by Governor Gavin Newsom, a politically ambitious Democrat who hopes to win the White House in 2028.

The first interim goal calls for 2 to 5 GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2030. However, significant investment is needed to meet the state's offshore wind planning goals by 2045. By 2045, 16 large and 10 small ports will be needed along the California coast for various aspects of development and support, the plan says. To meet the 2045 goal, an estimated investment of about $11 billion to $12 billion is needed to modernize existing port infrastructure.

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