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In response to the growing interest in offshore wind energy development in California, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management delineated three Call Areas for potential leasing. This study provides a comprehensive characterization and comparison of offshore wind power potential within the two Central California Call Areas (Diablo Canyon and Morro Bay) using 12-and 15-MW turbines under different inter-turbine spacing and wind farm size scenarios. Our analysis shows similar daily and seasonal patterns of wind power produced within the Call Areas, which peak in spring and during evening hours. Per-turbine power production is higher in the Morro Bay Call Area due to slightly higher hub-height wind speeds, whereas total power production is higher in the Diablo Canyon Call Area due to its larger size. Turbine type had a negligible impact on average power production per-unit-area because while larger turbines produce more power, they require greater inter-turbine spacing. Combined power production from the two fully built out Call Areas could equal nearly a quarter of California's current annual electrical energy production. A commercial-scale wind farm with a realized power output of 960 MW would require a footprint of at least half of the Morro Bay Call Area or at least a quarter of the Diablo Canyon Call Area. These results provide guidance on offshore wind development over the Central California Coast, and the framework demonstrated here could be applied to other wind data sets in other regions.



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This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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