Student Research

Necessary Factors for Offshore Wind Development in California

GMA 400 - Senior Seminar Research

This paper examines the critical components of successful offshore wind development. In doing so it recognizes the historical context behind the global movement towards renewable energy technologies and how varying political attitudes on climate change and energy security still affect the development of renewables today. In searching for factors that lead to the successful development of offshore wind energy, and conversely what factors, or lack thereof, have proved harmful to the outcome of successful onshore and offshore development. The criteria identified include three key components: suitable locations, adequate legal frameworks, and community support. Suitable locations consist of areas of offshore space with wind speeds high enough to be economically viable and compatible a compatible sea floor for the turbine support structure. Adequate legal frameworks are comprised of the necessary policies and incentives established by public sector entities to promote renewable energy development and the specific regulatory process for offshore wind projects. Community support factors include the general acceptance of wind technologies as well as local reactions to specific siting projects and how that can be helpful or harmful. Lastly, this paper will take the criteria established and apply a critical perspective to two case studies: the unsuccessful Cape Wind and the European model of offshore development where it will then draw conclusions on the lessons learned from the two different approaches.