Biden Opens Calif. Coast To Offshore Wind After Pentagon Abruptly Drops Objections
The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it was opening the California coast to offshore wind farms after the Pentagon suddenly dropped objections that wind farms would interfere with military operations along the Pacific coastline.
The new proposal for a 399-square-mile area in U.S. waters off the Central Coast could theoretically supply power to 1.6 million homes.
It will attempt to achieve Biden’s climate change and green energy goals, despite the fact that the permitting process will take many years.
There are environmental objections, as well as engineering challenges: the deep floor of the Pacific Ocean means that new technology for floating wind turbines will be needed in any California offshore wind farm.
Moreover, it is not clear that wind alone can meet the state’s energy challenges. Last August, parts of California suffered rolling blackouts after wind and solar power failed to provide enough energy to meet demand when a natural gas plant was offline during a heatwave.
Still, Gov. Gavin Newsom welcomed the decision in a statement, hailing ”an agreement that opens up the West Coast for offshore wind development for the first time in history, a promising development that could help achieve the state’s clean energy goals, bolster renewable energy sources and create new jobs and investments in California.”
Newsom singled out Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl, who played a key role in the Pentagon’s shift.
The Los Angeles Times reported:
The Department of Defense has also pushed back on expanding offshore wind into California, warning that developments could interfere with the military’s exercises and operations. But the department’s top policy officials appear to have changed their position under Biden.
On Tuesday, the U.S. undersecretary of Defense for policy, Colin Kahl, said the military had worked with the White House and California officials to find locations suitable for offshore wind development that wouldn’t impede military activity.
“The Defense Department applauds this step and looks forward to continued coordination to address the climate crisis,” Kahl said in a statement.
Kahl faced obstacles in his confirmation process earlier this year for his anti-Israel views, his penchant for anti-Republican statements on social media, and allegations that he may have mishandled classified information as a private citizen.
Under the Obama-Biden administration, the Pentagon was frequently used to push environmental policy, such as declaring climate change to be a national security crisis and seeking expensive “green” fuels to power the Navy’s blue-water fleet.
The Trump administration sought ways to open offshore opportunities for fossil fuel development, though not in California.
Recently, the Biden administration also announced plans for an offshore wind farm near Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
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