Equinor Names California Floating Wind Project
Equinor has announced the name of its floating offshore wind project off the coast of California, Atlas Wind. The lease area, which lies 60 miles from Morro Bay, has the capacity to provide over 2GW of reliable, renewable power, enough to power 1.7 million California homes once complete.
California is poised to become a growing force in the US energy transition with a nation-leading target of 25GW of offshore wind energy by 2045.
Approximately two-thirds of the United States’ offshore wind energy potential lies in deep coastal waters, like the Pacific Ocean, where water depths reach 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) or more. Water depths of this magnitude are too deep for traditional bottom fixed foundations, and instead require floating offshore wind technology.
Equinor is also the developer of the world’s first floating offshore wind farm, Hywind Scotland, and the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm, Hywind Tampen in the North Sea.
In addition to the state’s commitment to renewable energy sources, offshore wind complements solar energy by bolstering reliability in the evening, when solar generation decreases and user demand increases. The passage of recent legislation, establishing a centralized procurement system, paves the way forward for affordable, diverse, and clean energy sources for residents and further develops the infrastructure needed to advance the offshore wind industry.
“California has some of the best offshore wind resources in the country and support from state leadership to deliver on these offshore wind goals,” said Martin Goff, Project Director, Atlas Wind in Equinor. “Beyond providing energy reliability, offshore wind will create equitable opportunities through jobs and investment in the state. While this is just the beginning of our development of Atlas Wind, we’ve already begun engaging with local residents, the fishing industry, and tribal communities and are committed to continuing outreach as we progress the project.”
In 2024, marine and aerial wildlife surveying in the lease area will begin, providing the data necessary to guide understanding of the seabed floor and marine habitats. Equinor’s team continues to meet with residents, fishing industry, and tribal communities in preparation for survey activities for Atlas Wind.
The United States is a key market for Equinor’s growing offshore wind portfolio. On the East Coast, through a joint venture with bp, the company is developing Empire Wind and Beacon Wind. Upon completion, the projects will provide 3.3 GW of offshore wind energy to New York, or enough to power 2 million homes.