- The California Energy Commission (CEC) voted to pass targets involving the deployment of 3-5 gigawatts of offshore wind developments in the next five years and another 25 gigawatts by 2045.
- The commission’s report responded to the directive set forth by Assembly Bill 525, which required the CEC to evaluate and recommend the maximum feasible capacity of offshore wind projects.
- The commitment set forth by the CEC could produce enough energy to power the equivalent of 3.75 million homes by 2030 and 25 million homes by 2045.
- Plans for offshore wind projects are already underway at the Port of Humboldt Bay, supported by a significant funding package of $10.5 million approved earlier this year by the CEC.
In a statewide effort to accelerate the transition to clean energy, the California Energy Commission (CEC) adopted the most ambitious offshore wind development targets in the United States. They voted to pass targets involving the deployment of 3-5 gigawatts of offshore wind developments in the next five years and another 25 gigawatts by 2045.
The commission originally recommended these targets in their May report, “Offshore Wind Energy Development off the California Coast: Maximum Feasible Capacity and Megawatt Planning Goals for 2030 and 2045”. The report was in response to directives set forth by Assembly Bill 525, which required the CEC to evaluate and determine the maximum feasible capacity of offshore wind projects.
The commission explored the potential for wind energy developments in federal waters off the California coast that could provide a new source of renewable energy generation for the state. Their evaluation considered the potential for offshore wind projects to achieve “reliability, ratepayer, employment and decarbonization benefits” while helping California meet its ambitious climate and energy goals. The CEC’s targets were coordinated with various stakeholders, including tribal nations and fisheries.
The commitment set forth by the CEC could produce enough energy to power the equivalent of 3.75 million homes by 2030 and 25 million homes by mid-century. Producing clean energy of this magnitude will help California make a tremendous and swift transition away from fossil fuels.
It shows California is serious about moving towards meeting all its electricity needs with renewable energy sources.
Wind energy is considered an essential clean energy source capable of producing energy at night. By generating energy after the sunset, wind energy is the perfect pairing to daytime solar production.
The CEC is moving to the next step, which will include studying the economic benefits of offshore wind in relation to seaport investments and workforce development needs and creating a strategy for developing a permitting process for offshore facilities. The commission’s plan must be submitted to the legislature by June 2023.
Plans in preparation for offshore wind projects are already underway at the Port of Humboldt Bay, supported by a significant funding package of $10.5 million, approved earlier this year by the CEC. The 2022-23 budget proposal set forth by Governor Newsom aids this effort with an additional 45 million dollar investment through the “Offshore Wind Energy Deployment Facility Improvement Program” for upgrades required at waterfront facilities.
Recommendations set forth by the CEC, and the Governor’s Budget, reflect the urgency for government agencies to act against the effects of climate change. Record-breaking heat waves, life-threatening wildfires, and a disappearing Sierra snowpack illustrate the worsening climate emergencies increasing in frequency across California.
The impacts of these commitments cannot be understated. The state is taking action against climate emergencies and is now well on the path to achieving a complete transition to renewable energy. California will serve as a model for other coastal states, capable of implementing equitable climate solutions with offshore wind developments.