Offshore Wind in California

The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018 (SB 100, De León, Chapter 321, Statutes of 2018) increased California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal to 60 percent by 2030 and requires RPS-eligible resources and zero-carbon resources to supply 100 percent of California’s electricity retail sales and electricity procured to serve state agencies by 2045. California has some of the best offshore wind resources in the country and floating offshore wind is emerging as a promising source of renewable energy generation for the state. In addition to providing renewable energy, development of floating offshore wind energy in California will diversify the state’s energy portfolio and provide an opportunity for good paying jobs and statewide economic benefits.

Offshore wind energy technologies have been deployed in Europe and Asia and are under active development on the East Coast of the United States. To date, most offshore wind energy projects utilize fixed bottom foundations which are more suitable for shallow waters. The deep waters of the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf off California’s coast will require offshore wind turbines installed on floating platforms anchored to the seabed. While the global floating offshore wind market is still in early stages of development, the technology is projected to quickly advance, and California is well positioned to be a leader in the floating offshore wind market.

There are many factors and values to balance when planning for the development of floating offshore wind, including environmental, cultural, socioeconomic, regulatory, and economic considerations. California is home to one of the most diverse coastal and ocean ecosystems in the world, with over 1,100 miles of coastline, and the protection of coastal and ocean resources remains an important value. California is prioritizing actions and approaches to balance the advancement of a floating offshore wind industry and preservation of the unique and diverse ecosystems off the coast.

Stay informed of events, reports, and other items by signing up for the Offshore Renewable Energy email subscription. In addition to other outreach efforts, CEC and its partner agencies plan to conduct one or more virtual workshops in early 2024. Notice for future events will appear on the CEC website and emailed to the CEC Renewable Energy subscription list described above.

Submit comments on the Draft Assembly Bill 525 Offshore Wind Strategic Plan.

  • The CEC encourages the use of its electronic commenting system for Docket Log 17-MISC-01. Enter your contact information and a subject title that describes your comment. Comments may be included in the “Comment Text” box or attached as a downloadable, searchable document in Microsoft® Word or Adobe® Acrobat®. The maximum file size allowed is 10 MB.
  • Written comments may also be submitted by email. Include docket number 17-MISC-01 and California Offshore Renewable Energy in the subject line and email to A paper copy may be mailed to: California Energy Commission, Docket Unit, MS-4, Docket No.17-MISC-01, 715 P Street, Sacramento, California 95814.
  • Comments, attachments, and associated contact information (including address, phone number, and email address) will become part of the public record of this proceeding with access available via any internet search engine.

The following are upcoming engagement opportunities and contact information to request additional engagement:

In September 2021, the California Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, Assembly Bill (AB) 525 (Chiu, Chapter 231, Statutes of 2021) requiring the CEC, in coordination with the California Coastal Commission, the Ocean Protection Council, the State Lands Commission, the Office of Planning and Research, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, the California Independent System Operator, and the Public Utilities Commission, and other relevant federal, state, and local agencies as needed, to develop a strategic plan for offshore wind energy developments installed off the California coast in federal waters, and submit it to the California Natural Resources Agency and the Legislature.

For more information, please see the AB 525 report.


The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is responsible for overseeing renewable energy development in federal waters of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Floating offshore wind energy projects are complex and will require close coordination between BOEM, the State of California, and other federal and local agencies and tribal governments. To help facilitate this coordination, the Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force (Task Force) was established in 2016. The Task Force, which includes representatives from federal, state, local, and federally tribal governments, work together to identify opportunities for renewable energy leasing and development off the coast of California. For more information on BOEM’s recent California offshore wind activities, please visit BOEM’s California Activities website.

The CEC’s Electric Program Investment Charge Program, or EPIC, funds research leading to technological advancements and scientific breakthroughs supporting California’s clean energy goals, with a focus on providing ratepayer benefits, including reliability, lower costs, and safety. While floating offshore wind has yet to be launched in California, additional technological innovation and optimization can help propel the market and bring affordable and clean electricity to California’s communities.

The EPIC Interim Investment Plan 2021 and EPIC 4 2021-2025 Investment Plan includes investment priorities for research designed to accelerate the market readiness of floating offshore wind, enable advancements in installation, operations, and maintenance methods, and develop best-available science and monitoring technologies for environmental assessment and impact minimization.

The online database Energize Innovation allows users to search for the latest updates from CEC-funded research projects relating to floating offshore wind energy.

In addition to offshore wind energy, marine hydrokinetic technologies can capture wave energy as another potential source of renewable generation. Much like floating offshore wind, marine hydrokinetics is an emerging technology with limited demonstrations to date. The U.S. Department of Energy is investing in research to support the design, testing, development and demonstration, of marine hydrokinetic technologies. 

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