Final Project report

Abstract: Senate Bill 100 of California establishes the requirement that 100% of the state’s retail electricity be generated from eligible carbon-free resources by 2045. Given the large-scale renewable energy targets in California, floating offshore wind represents a new energy resource that can help the state meet this policy target. This study characterizes and assesses the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the integration of offshore wind energy into California electricity markets. This report presents the first analysis of the life cycle GHG emissions of any offshore wind project in California. In comparison to other existing energy resources in California, our results show that the maximum GHG emissions from floating offshore wind is less than one-tenth the lowest estimated value of natural gas. The emissions from floating offshore wind are similar to those from hydro, nuclear, and low-end solar estimates. The turbine manufacturing stage is responsible for the majority of the GHG emissions and the recycling stage has strong implications for reducing emissions. Emissions are most heavily influenced by the average power generated per wind turbine and the operational lifetime of the wind farm. These results imply that, first, offshore wind has the potential to provide low-carbon electricity in California. Second, mitigation efforts should prioritize the manufacturing and recycling phases, and the factors influencing the power generation of wind turbines (i.e., site selection and generation capacity) and operational lifetime (i.e., maintenance schedule and mechanical durability).