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Historic California Offshore Wind Energy Goals Adopted, Could Power 25 Million Homes

New goals of up to 5,000 MW by 2030 and 25,000 MW by 2045 will accelerate California’s transition to 100% clean electricity

SACRAMENTO — [Yesterday] the California Energy Commission (CEC) 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 megawatts (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.

California is home to some of the best offshore wind resources in the country, a power source that can play a major role in helping the state achieve 100 percent clean electricity and carbon neutrality. Offshore wind is a critical clean energy source at night complementing solar energy by providing generation at the end of the day and into the evening as the sun sets.

“These ambitious yet achievable goals are an important signal of how committed California is to bringing the offshore wind industry to our state,” said 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 and 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. It reflects the latest available research on technical potential.

“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,” said CEC Vice Chair Siva Gunda.

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, Governor 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. Governor Newsom’s 2022–23 budget proposal builds on this effort and proposes an additional $45 million for other needed upgrades at waterfront facilities.

Image courtesy of CEC

To learn more about California’s offshore wind efforts, visit the CEC’s Offshore Renewable Energy Page.

Courtesy of California Energy Commission.

 
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