New report: California could meet entire electricity demand with offshore wind

Media Contacts
Elizabeth Nickerson

SACRAMENTO -A new report released Thursday by Environment California Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group titled, Offshore Wind for America, examines U.S. offshore wind potential by both coastal region and by state, while documenting the status of existing projects and technological advances. California could provide 157% of 2019 electricity usage with offshore wind alone. For projections of 2050 electricity demand, the report assumes that U.S. buildings, industry and transportation will all be powered by electricity rather than fossil fuels by mid-century.

“Developing offshore wind in California just makes sense. We have an enormous renewable resource blowing just off our coastline that can help close the gap between us and a 100 percent renewable energy future” said Lizzi Nickerson, clean energy associate with Environment California Research & Policy Center. “We have an opportunity to provide Californians with renewable, reliable energy to power their homes. The commitments made by Northeastern states should give state leadership the confidence to make our own as soon as possible.”

“The signs of the climate crisis are all around us. With offshore wind, we have an opportunity to counter the threat of climate change, meet our clean energy goals, and create thousands of new good-paying jobs in the process.” said Assemblymember David Chiu (D) of San Francisco.

“Labor and environmentalists may not always see eye-to-eye on everything, but I joined this coalition, because Operating Engineers are very clear that we want wind-energy projects. There is a huge need for more work in Humboldt County and more opportunities for long-term careers with prevailing-wage requirements, meaning these jobs will improve the lives of the local workforce” said Jeff Hunerlach, district representative for the operating engineers who are working to pass a planning bill for offshore wind in the state.

“Many of these jobs will also require mandated apprenticeship training programs, which mean not just jobs, but new jobs, creating career paths for many who are searching for opportunities in the Trades, when COVID may have impacted their options until now.  These jobs, with their mandated apprenticeship requirements, are preparing the state’s workforce for building, operating, and maintaining California’s soon-to-be 100 percent green energy grid. (The first of its kind in the world).”

California, with its huge coastline, has the highest absolute technical potential for offshore wind generation, followed by Oregon, Washington and then Hawaii.

“The report highlights the importance of California setting targets for offshore wind, as East Coast states have done, and for the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to schedule auctions for leasing sea space off California’s coast. These steps are crucial for California to reach its clean energy and climate goals” said Adam Stern, Executive Director, Offshore Wind California, a leading trade group of offshore wind developers and technology companies.

In addition to highlighting states that stand to provide the most offshore wind power relative to their electricity usage, the report also highlights how the success and growth of offshore wind globally in Europe and Asia has supported the continued advancements of offshore wind technologies. Turbine power and efficiency continue to improve, while the introduction of floating turbines will be crucial for expanding offshore wind potential in states with especially deep coastal water, such as Maine and California.

“Offshore Wind for America reminds us that offshore wind can and will rise to the occasion of meeting our energy needs right here in California” Nickerson said. “This incredible resource is still largely untapped, but we have the chance to take advantage of it and build a resilient green future for Californians. Now is the time to go big on offshore wind.”


Environment California Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. For more information, visit