Biden administration reveals plans for wind farms off the California coast

A surfer in Morro Bay, California.
(Image credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

More than 250,000 acres off the California coast will be open to wind development, the Biden administration announced Tuesday.

Under this new plan, wind power projects would be built off the coast of Morro Bay in Central California and Humboldt Bay in Northern California, and combined, they could generate 4,600 megawatts of electricity that could power 1.6 million homes, the Los Angeles Times reports. Wind energy does not produce greenhouse gas emissions, and offshore wind farms will help fight climate change and create more than 77,000 jobs, the White House said. Now, there are only two wind farms in the United States, both on the East Coast.

Gina McCarthy, President Biden's senior climate change adviser, said on Tuesday the California projects will "set the stage for the long-term development of clean energy and the growth of a brand-new, made-in-America industry." California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) agreed, saying these "game-changing" wind farms will benefit "diverse communities" across the state. He believes the projects will be built 20 miles offshore, with room for about 380 wind turbines. The Pacific Ocean is deep, and the turbines will have to float, held in place by cables.

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There is some pushback from a variety of detractors, including people who live on the coast and don't want to look at turbines. Previously, the Department of Defense cautioned that offshore wind farms off the California coast could interfere with military training and operations, but Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, said on Tuesday suitable locations were found that are out of the way, the Times reports.

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