The California Energy Commission (CEC) has adopted a report establishing offshore wind goals and moving the state one step closer to development of the clean energy resource off California’s coast. Preliminary findings in the report set planning goals of 2,000-5,000 MW of offshore wind by 2030 and 25,000 MW by 2045, enough electricity to power 3.75 million initially and 25 million homes by mid-century.
“These ambitious yet achievable goals are an important signal of how committed California is to bringing the offshore wind industry to our state,” says CEC Chair David Hochschild. “This remarkable resource will generate clean electricity around the clock and help us transition away from fossil fuel-based energy as quickly as possible while ensuring grid reliability.”
The CEC developed the report in coordination with federal, state and local agencies as well as stakeholders, including Tribal governments, fisheries and other ocean users. It is the first of several products the CEC must prepare to create a strategic plan for offshore wind energy development as required by Assembly Bill 525.
“The success of our state’s climate goals requires all-hands-on deck, and we are committed to ongoing consultation with other agencies and those most impacted by the scale-up needed to achieve 100 percent clean electricity,” comments Siva Gunda, CEC’s vice chair.
CEC staff will next study the economic benefits of offshore wind in relation to seaport investments and workforce development needs. Staff will also create a roadmap to develop a permitting process for offshore wind energy facilities and associated electricity and transmission infrastructure. The entire plan must be submitted to the Legislature by June 2023.
Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an agreement opening the West Coast for development for the first time. As a result of the partnership, in May, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released a proposed sale notice for offshore wind leases off the northern and central coasts in areas designated as most suitable for commercial wind energy activities near Humboldt and Morro Bay.
Plans for renovations to prepare for offshore wind activities are already underway at the Port of Humboldt Bay with $10.5 million in funding approved by the CEC earlier this year. Gov. Newsom’s 2022-23 budget proposal builds on this effort and proposes an additional $45 million for other needed upgrades at waterfront facilities.
Read the full report here.