San Francisco Department of the Environment

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Offshore Wind

The best wind resource in San Francisco lies offshore, over the waters of the Pacific Ocean. These winds come unobstructed over the ocean, meaning high speeds and low turbulence, and are more constant than winds over land. Unfortunately, the same areas with the best wind resource tend to be several miles offshore, where the water is too deep for conventional turbine foundation designs. For example, wind speeds near the Farallon Islands west of San Francisco are around 8.0m/s, but depths (over 50 meters) are deeper than any commercial wind farm in operation today. Floating turbines or turbines installed on platforms (similar to offshore oil and gas rigs) may be the future for offshore wind energy development along the deep California coast.

The off-shore wind resource potential in the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean has been studied by bay area scholars and links to their studies can be found below in the additional resources section. A report by Stanford University students provides a preliminary study of the wind energy potential in offshore areas the San Francisco Bay in order to locate areas that warrant further study for the purpose of wind farm construction.

Download Report: California Offshore Wind Farm Analysis

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