US to advance Californian offshore renewables

Sally Jewell (Photo: US Department of Interior)

US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Governor of California Edmund G. Brown to encourage the development of renewables, including wave energy.

The MoU establishes specific objectives for renewable energy development on federal and state lands and waters, directing Interior and California agencies to take the necessary actions to achieve these goals.

US Department of Interior said the high priority will be placed on processing applications for renewable energy projects in areas that minimize environmental effects, make efficient use of existing transmission systems and are consistent with ongoing cooperative planning efforts.

Jewell also announced approval of two transmission line projects developed in consultation with several states that will distribute up to 4,500 MW of renewable power across the Mountain West, Desert Southwest and California, according to the Department of Interior.

Brown said: “We will continue to transition from the fossil fuels of the past to the renewable energy of the future. With this agreement, we’re harnessing California’s bountiful sun, wind and waves to generate the energy we need.”

Jewell added: “These efforts strengthen our commitment to work with state and local communities to unlock the West’s abundant renewable energy resources, create jobs and support development that makes sense for both the economy and the environment. Together, these initiatives will generate thousands of construction and operations jobs, cut carbon emissions by millions of tons, and help Western states meet their renewable energy goals.”

US Department of Interior states that in order for California to reach its goal of meeting 50% of the state’s electrical needs with renewable energy sources by 2030, the state will require a substantial increase in the development of qualified energy projects, such as onshore and offshore wind, solar, geothermal, offshore wave and biomass.

As reported earlier, the US Department of Energy last year allocated $1.5 million in additional funding to California Polytechnic University (Cal Poly) to support the development of California Wave Energy Test Center (CalWave) project.

The CalWave project was originally created partly in response to the US DoE’s plan to accelerate the development of wave energy technologies in the United States and to construct a world-class national wave energy testing facility where technology manufacturers can pilot their devices in a commercial, grid connected marine setting.

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