California Energy Commission Adopts Strategic Plan for Offshore Wind

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has adopted a Strategic Plan for Offshore Wind that will guide the development of offshore wind energy in this US state.

CEC

The plan outlines analysis and strategies to deploy floating turbines off California’s central and northern coasts with a planning goal of 25 GW of capacity by 2045, enough to power 25 million homes.

”Adopting this comprehensive strategic plan for offshore wind development marks yet another significant milestone in California’s journey to a 100 percent clean energy future,” said CEC Chair David Hochschild.

”Offshore wind has the potential to accelerate the clean energy transition by providing a consistent, reliable source of clean electricity, supporting our ambitious climate goals, creating local manufacturing jobs and driving economic development. We are committed to harnessing this clean resource to ensure a sustainable energy future for all Californians.”

California’s electricity grid is served by nearly 35 GW of renewable resources today, but to meet the 2045 goal, the state will need an additional 14 GW, which will likely require the development of land and ocean space across many regions of the state.

Offshore wind stands out for its potential to generate vast amounts of electricity thanks to strong, consistent winds off California’s coast, CEC said. Additionally, offshore wind can generate electricity at times when solar power drops off, such as overnight and in winter, providing a complementary electricity generation profile to the state’s renewable energy portfolio.

Offshore wind development is poised to deliver substantial economic benefits to California, according to CEC. A recent study projects the creation of more than 8,000 jobs during peak offshore wind development, many of which will be unionized, providing stable and well-paying employment opportunities.

”As we move forward with our plans to develop offshore wind energy in California, we are not only investing in renewable energy, but also in the future of our state’s economy. Offshore wind will create thousands of new jobs for Californians, from manufacturing to maintenance, and build out a robust supply chain to support this growing industry,” said Dee Dee Myers, senior advisor to Governor Gavin Newsom and director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).

”Our commitment to offshore wind will bring sustainable growth, reduce our carbon footprint, and secure a cleaner, brighter future for all Californians.”

The plan is said to underscore a commitment to responsible development that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and pollution impacts for the climate, in communities, to public health and to the environment, and minimize impacts to California Native American tribes, ocean users and marine wildlife.

Off the California coast, floating wind energy technology has been identified because it’s particularly suited to deep waters and offers several benefits including the ability to access stronger and more consistent wind resources farther offshore and reduced environmental disturbances to the seabed.

What’s Next?

Following the adoption of the strategic plan, the CEC and partner agencies will advance the strategic plan by continuing discussions and consultations with tribal governments, underserved communities, fisheries, industry, ocean users, environmental and environmental justice groups, and federal, state, and local agencies; and advancing and exploring the recommendations and strategies developed in the strategic plan.

This strategic plan is the fourth and final work product the CEC was directed to prepare by Assembly Bill 525 in coordination with federal, state, and local agencies, tribal governments, and a wide variety of stakeholders.

It incorporates and builds off three prior requirements of AB 525; the establishment of planning goals of 2 to 5 GW by 2030 and 25 GW by 2045; a preliminary assessment of the economic benefit of offshore wind related to port investments and workforce development; and a conceptual permitting roadmap.

California’s AB 525, passed in 2021, directed the CEC to establish offshore wind goals for 2030 and 2045. In 2022, the Commission set a goal of 25 GW of offshore wind power generation by 2045. It also required the Commission to develop the strategic plan released last month, with the goal of utilizing offshore wind in pursuit of achieving 100 per cent clean energy by 2045.

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