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Pacific Section AAPG Convention

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Offshore Renewable Energy And California


In his January 2015 inaugural address, Governor Brown proposed the ambitious goal of sourcing 50 percent of California's electricity from renewable sources within the next 15 years. Offshore renewable energy has the potential to meet a significant portion of California's energy demand and contribute to the Governor's goal. The California State Lands Commission (Commission) has jurisdiction over ungranted tidelands from the mean high tide line to three nautical miles from shore and considers leases and other permits for use of these tidelands pursuant to the common law Public Trust Doctrine. The Commission is interested in incorporating the responsible development of renewable energy on State tidelands to the extent that development is consistent with the Public Trust. Offshore renewable energy has some advantages over onshore renewable energy. For example, waves, tides, and currents are easier to predict than onshore wind and solar energy, allowing for greater power reliability. In addition, offshore wind also occurs with greater frequency and strength than onshore wind, and in some cases, offshore wind coincides with peak demand for electricity. This presentation will provide an overview of offshore energy potential in California, different types of marine renewable energy technologies, potential environmental impacts of concern, and resources for further information.