The California Energy Commission Establishes Offshore Wind Goals

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved a set of offshore wind planning goals, as directed by the state’s AB 525 law, putting California on track to responsibly develop up to 5 GW of floating offshore wind power by 2030 and 25 GW by 2045.

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 525 into law last September, directing the CEC to set planning goals for this clean energy technology. By the end of June 2023, AB 525 also requires the CEC to collaborate with other agencies and stakeholders to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for offshore wind development, including transmission, port infrastructure, procurement, additional call areas, workforce development, and a sustainable supply chain.

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California is home to one of the world’s best offshore wind resources, and I am confident that this clean, domestic source of electricity can play an important role in meeting our state’s growing need for clean energy,” said Governor Gavin Newsom in remarks cited in a presentation on the offshore wind planning goals at the CEC’s August 10 Business Meeting. Last month, Newsom urged the CEC to increase its offshore wind target to at least 20 GW by 2045.

The California Energy Commission establishes offshore wind goals.

“This is a time for boldness,” said David Hochschild, CEC Chair, who led the hearing in Sacramento where the CEC unanimously approved the expanded goals in the state’s revised offshore wind report. “What we do here matters far more than we realize. We have a great track record of starting big things in California, of pushing the envelope, and seeing it spread. What we’re doing today with offshore wind is just another step in that illustrious journey. I wholeheartedly agree.”

“These goals chart an ambitious course and demonstrate that California is very serious about ‘going big’ on floating offshore wind, to drive economies of scale and generate the very substantial clean power, climate, and job benefits that this renewable energy resource can deliver for our state,” said Adam Stern, Executive Director of Offshore Wind California (OWC), a trade group that represents the state’s offshore wind industry. “Achieving 5 GW of offshore wind by 2030 will put the state on track to meet, if not exceed, its 25 GW target by 2045. Going larger is better for California and offshore wind.”

“The ultimate goal is to develop a thriving, world-leading floating wind industry,” said Paula Major, Vice President, U.S. Offshore Wind, Mainstream Renewable Power, and OWC Board Chair. “This demonstrates California’s commitment to “going big” and moving forward—right now. We’re determined as an industry to collaborate closely with state and federal agencies, as well as other stakeholders, to achieve these lofty targets and help California become a global leader in floating offshore wind.”

The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced the next steps for offshore wind lease sales in two regions of the Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of California in May. This is the first offshore wind lease sale proposed on America’s west coast. The Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) includes three proposed lease areas in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area off central California and two proposed lease areas in the Humboldt Wind Energy Area off northern California, totaling approximately 373,268 acres. According to BOEM, they have the potential to generate over 4.5 GW of offshore wind energy and power more than 1.5 million homes.