California sets the largest offshore wind goal of any state in the US

The California Energy Commission (CEC) today set a goal to deploy 25 gigawatts (GW) of offshore floating wind power generation by 2045 after adopting a report that establishes offshore wind goals.

California’s AB 525, signed into law in 2021, directed the CEC to “evaluate and quantify the maximum feasible capacity of offshore wind” and set a statewide goal. Preliminary findings in the report set planning goals of 3,000-5,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind by 2030 and 25 GW by 2045. The 2030 target is enough electricity to power 3.75 million homes, and the 2045 target is enough electricity to power 25 million. (For perspective, the latest US Census Bureau statistics show that there are 14.5 housing units in California.)

The CEC explained next steps for implementation in today’s announcement:

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. 

The Business Network for Offshore Wind points out that “California’s goal is both the largest and furthest reaching offshore wind goal of any state – and is the first Pacific Coast state to set a tangible target.”

Liz Burdock, CEO and president of the Business Network for Offshore Wind said in a statement:

A new clean energy industry is born as California’s new offshore wind target will unlock affordable power for tens of millions of homes in need of reliable energy. The CEC’s approval of a robust Offshore Wind Planning goal of up to 25 GW by 2045 ​is the action the industry has pushed for more than five years. It also marks a significant moment in the path to develop a national floating offshore wind industry. The long-term certainty of a 2045 goal will ​help build investor confidence and attract investments in ports, vessels, and offshore wind manufacturing facilities along the Pacific coast.

I applaud [California] Governor [Gavin] Newsom for calling for bold action and commend the CEC for its work delivering a powerful first implementation report.

On July 26, Electrek reported that Newsom had called for California to bump up its offshore wind target to at least 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2045, accelerating its 20 GW target by five years.

Before today, the state’s offshore wind targets were 15 GW of installed capacity by 2045 and 20 GW by 2050.

Photo: “Morro Bay Power Plant” by Maxinux40k is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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