California ‘going big’ on floating offshore wind

16 May 2023

Federal, state and industry leaders on Day Two of the Pacific Offshore Wind Summit on 11 May applauded California's commitment to make floating wind a ‘vital part’ of its diverse clean-energy future, as the state sets a course to deploy a nation-leading 25 GW by 2045, create new jobs and help meet its climate, clean-energy and grid-reliability goals. Speakers at the Summit, hosted by Offshore Wind California urged the state to move with speed and scale on key next steps to bring offshore wind online – including transmission and port upgrades, procuring at scale, a permitting roadmap, supply chain, workforce training, and suitable sea space to reach the state's goals.

Last August, the California Energy Commission (CEC) adopted offshore wind planning goals, as directed by the AB 525 law signed by state governor Gavin Newsom, to generate up to 5 GW by 2030 and 25 GW by 2045. In December, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held its first-ever federal auction for California offshore wind, identifying five provisional leaseholders to deploy an initial 5-7 GW at Morro Bay and Humboldt off the state's central and north coasts.

"Governor Newsom is committed to a future of offshore wind in California, including his … goal of 25 GW by 2045," said Christine Hironaka, California deputy cabinet secretary. "We're on a path to achieve our 100% clean energy future by 2045. At the same time, we're anticipating significant growth in demand as we electrify our lives. We need clean diverse resources to power our grid 24/7."

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates California's technical offshore wind potential at 200 GW, with more than 25 GW in BOEM's two lease areas and two wind study areas. Deeper West Coast waters require floating technologies that are already being deployed in other world markets. Reports show that developing 25 GW of California offshore wind will support tens of thousands of jobs, supply up to 20 % of the state's planned new clean energy, save ratepayers billions of dollars, and generate enough competitively priced electricity to power up to 25 million homes. 

The 2021 joint agency report found that to reach 100% clean energy, California will need a diverse portfolio including offshore wind, which if deployed at scale will complement other renewables and save ratepayers $1 billion or more in installed clean power capacity.

Offshore Wind California's board member companies include BP, Equinor, Hexicon, Magellan Wind, Ørsted,Pacific Ocean Energy Trust, Principle Power, RWE, Shell and SSE Renewables.

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