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Title: The Cost of Floating Offshore Wind Energy in California Between 2019 and 2032

Technical Report ·
DOI:· OSTI ID:1710181

California’s energy planning is centered around meeting the emissions reduction and renewable energy requirements of Senate Bill 350 by 2030. However, state power system planning is expected to eventually address California’s requirement to achieve 100% of total retail electricity sales from renewable energy and zero-carbon resources by 2045, as mandated by Senate Bill 100. To comply with these directives, California needs to investigate the further development of energy efficiency, storage, and a diverse range of renewable energy, zero-carbon emission, and transmission resources, including offshore wind. Wind resources off the coast of California have the potential to generate a significant portion of the state’s electric energy as it moves toward a zero-carbon economy and can help diversify its energy mix. Floating offshore wind technology, which is suitable for the deep waters along the California coast, is currently in a precommercial phase, with approximately 84 megawatts (MW) installed worldwide at the end of 2019. Globally there are over 7,000 MW in planning and permitting phases of development, with the first commercial-scale projects expected to be operational in 2024. This study provides site-specific cost and performance data for floating offshore wind to inform California’s long-term energy planning. The identification of new resources to meet California’s policy goals at least cost is part of the Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process, which is coordinated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). In 2019–2020 IRP modeling, offshore wind was included for the first time as a candidate resource in some sensitivity cases (CPUC 2019). The data and information presented in this report can be used to update offshore wind inputs in future IRP cycles. The authors conducted a geospatial cost analysis over portions of the offshore wind resource area of California. The analyzed spatial domain includes sites with a mean wind speed of at least 7 meters per second and water depths between 40 meters (m) and 1,300 m. Costs and energy production vary across this analysis domain. We calculated these parameters on a grid layout with over 750 sites, with each site representing a 1,000-MW commercial offshore wind power plant. Levelized cost of energy (LCOE) was calculated at each site over the analysis domain. The resulting variation in LCOE across the analysis domain is illustrated through heat maps in this report. Five study areas were selected within the analysis domain where more detailed cost analysis was conducted and cost parameters, such as annual energy production, capital cost expenditures (CapEx), operational cost expenditures (OpEx), and net capacity factors are reported. These five study areas include Morro Bay, Diablo Canyon, Humboldt, Cape Mendocino and Del Norte.

Research Organization:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Organization:
US Department of Interior (DOI); Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM); USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
DOE Contract Number:
Report Number(s):
NREL/TP-5000-77384; MainId:26330; UUID:c0154ea4-d6b9-4ea7-897c-db68bde45bbc; MainAdminID:18774
Country of Publication:
United States