Energy & Environment

California adopts nation’s most ambitious offshore wind targets

AP-Wayne Parry

The California Energy Commission voted on Wednesday to adopt the country’s most ambitious offshore wind development targets — the latest move in a statewide drive to accelerate the clean electricity transition.

The targets involve the deployment of 3 gigawatts to 5 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 and 25 gigawatts by 2045, as recommended by the commission’s initial report, which was issued in May

These quantities of wind production could power the equivalent of 3.75 million homes initially and 25 million by midcentury, according to the commission. 

“These ambitious yet achievable goals are an important signal of how committed California is to bringing the offshore wind industry to our state,” commission Chair David Hochschild said in a statement

“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,” Hochschild added. 

Touting California as “home to some of the best offshore wind resources in the country,” a commission announcement described wind as a critical nighttime energy source that complements daytime solar production. 

The commission developed the targets in coordination with federal, state and local stakeholders, including tribal nations, fisheries and other ocean users, the announcement said. 

The next steps for commission staff members will involve studying the economic benefits of offshore wind and creating a roadmap to develop a permitting process for offshore facilities. According to California Assembly Bill 525, the commission must submit the entire plan to the legislature by June 2023. 

Environmental activists hailed the California Energy Commission’s decision on Wednesday, noting that the move puts California on a path to meeting about a quarter of its total electricity needs with offshore wind by midcentury.

“This is a truly historic moment for California,” Laura Deehan, state director for Environment California, said in a statement. 

“The significance of these targets cannot be overstated,” Deehan added. “Just last year, California was far behind the East Coast on offshore wind, and now are surging ahead with the most ambitious targets in the nation.”

Tags California California Assembly Bill 525 California Energy Commission clean energy David Hochschild Environment California Laura Deehan wind development targets

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