As part of the state’s transition to a carbon-free electricity grid, the California Energy Commission (CEC) wants to install 25,000MW of offshore wind capacity by 2045. Meeting those ambitions will see 25 million California homes powered by offshore wind, announced the CEC on 10 August 2022. The plans are based on findings of a new CEC report, which establishes offshore wind capacity feasibility off the coast of California.

Port of Humboldt Bay
The waters offshore Humboldt County, California, could soon host floating offshore wind turbines. (Photo by Justin Gerdes)

Legislation passed in 2021, AB 525, required the CEC to establish planning targets for offshore wind energy development. The new report sets an initial goalpost for up to 5,000MW of offshore wind capacity to be installed by 2030, followed by 25,000MW of capacity by 2045.

“These ambitious yet achievable goals are an important signal of how committed California is to bringing the offshore wind industry to our state,” said CEC Chair David Hochschild when the plans were approved. “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.”

At the Port of Humboldt Bay, in Northern California, plans for upgrades to prepare for offshore wind operations are already in motion thanks to $10.5m in funding granted by the CEC earlier this year. Building on this initiative, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2022–23 budget proposal adds an extra $45m for required improvements to waterfront redevelopment for offshore wind.

The just-passed Inflation Reduction Act is expected to further expand the US West Coast’s offshore wind industry, with federal tax credits offering floating offshore wind technology the chance to reach commercial scale, with cost reductions similar to onshore wind and solar technologies.

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