Full Title: California’s Offshore Wind Electricity Opportunity
Author(s): Adam Rose, Dan Wei, Adam Einbinder
Publisher(s): USC Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy
Publication Date: August 17, 2021
Full Text: Download Resource
California has set forth an ambitious goal of generating all of its electricity from clean and carbon-free technologies by the year 2045. The state is planning for this target, outlined in California Senate Bill 100, to be met primarily by several renewable sources like solar, land-based wind, geothermal, along with energy storage and other zero-carbon technologies. Wind energy has long been proven to be a technologically feasible and economically viable option. Moreover, momentum is increasing to include California’s offshore wind (OSW) energy as a complement to the state’s current renewable energy and storage resources.
In this report, we provide a broad analysis of the economic potential of OSW development in California in terms of the direct benefits of the value proposition and various co-benefits. We begin with an examination of the basic costs of OSW and how its advantages with regard to variability, flexibility, and reliability affect this proposition in relation to gas-fired electricity generation units and solar-battery hybrids combinations that it could displace. We also consider the social costs of carbon emissions from fossil-fuel sources in comparison to the near-zero amounts emitted by the use of this renewable resource. Additionally, we consider impacts on other societal objectives such as equity/justice. A major aspect of the study is the estimation of aggregate and sectoral economic output and employment impacts stemming from the potential development of OSW in California, which are summarized below and presented in detail in a companion report (Wei et al., 2021).