California, catch the next big energy wave

The first U.S. offshore wind turbine hooked into the U.S. power grid in June, but not in the "green" state of California. It happened on the opposite side of the continent, off the coast of Maine, using a floating wind-generator prototype well suited for the deep ocean water typically found off the coast of California.

Less than a month later, Britain inaugurated an offshore wind farm capable of powering half a million homes. Additional "blue" energy sources, including wave- and tidal-power generators and "ocean thermal energy conversion," or OTEC, are being developed in Maine, Oregon, Scotland and China, but not in any significant way in California. Even Google, based in California, is making a major commitment to offshore wind powers but generated off the mid-Atlantic states, not here.

What's happening? California is the state most associated with alternative energy development, yet the state's greatest potential source of clean power (and its main geographic feature), the Pacific Ocean, is largely ignored.

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