90.1 FM San Luis Obispo | 91.7 FM Paso Robles | 91.1 FM Cayucos | 95.1 FM Lompoc | 90.9 FM Avila
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New study finds offshore wind could provide 25% of U.S. electricity needs by 2050

US Department of Energy
US Department of Energy

A new study out today analyzes how offshore wind energy could help the U.S. meet its renewable energy and sustainability goals. It comes as a floating offshore wind farm is planned for the coast off of Morro Bay.

The study was written by researchers from UC Berkeley, Energy Innovation and GridLab. It found offshore wind could provide 10-25 percent of the country’s total electricity generation by 2050, and potentially employ nearly 400,000 workers.

The researchers also found that developing offshore wind nationwide could produce about 4,000 gigawatts of energy. To put this in perspective, about 1 gigawatt of energy can power about 100 million LED bulbs, according to the Department of Energy.

Nikit Abhyankar is a senior scientist with UC Berkeley and one of the reports’ authors. He said developing offshore wind can greatly help the US achieve its renewable energy goals.

“Because of the abundant quality and good quality of our offshore wind resource. This will be a critical resource to diversify or clean energy Supply in order to meet our Net Zero Energy Target by 2050,” Abhyankar said.

According to the Department of Interior, California’s offshore wind farms alone are expected to produce 4.5 gigawatts of energy, which would power more than 1.5 million homes.

But the newly released report said developing more offshore wind projects on the West Coast could add much more than that: 100 gigawatts by 2050. Researchers said that would also create nearly 60,000 jobs in the state.

In Morro Bay, three companies have won leases to develop floating offshore wind farms. Supporters of the development say it’s necessary to meet California’s clean energy goals and create more jobs. Opponents worry it could impact the local fishing industry, marine mammals and more.

The new study is available here.

Gabriela Fernandez came to KCBX in May of 2022 as a general assignment reporter, and became news director in December of 2023. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an associate producer on the TahoeLand podcast. When she's not writing or editing news stories, she loves to travel, play tennis and take her 140-lbs dog, Atlas, on long walks by the coast.
Related Content