• wind energy;
  • expansion fan;
  • California coast

[1] Wind energy represents the nearest term cost-effective renewable energy source. While efforts have been made to assess wind energy potential over land around the world, offshore wind energy resources are largely unexplored, in part because these regions have relatively sparse wind observations. In this study, the wind energy potential offshore of the California coast is evaluated using a well-tested high-resolution numerical model dataset. We found that along the coastline, the low-level winds exhibit strong spatial variation and are characterized by alternating windspeed maxima and minima near coastal promontories associated with the interaction between the marine boundary layer and coastal topography. Further analysis highlights the enormous and reliable wind energy development potential in these persistent offshore windspeed maxima.