The State of California has set ambitious goals to develop offshore wind in the coming decades and this is good news for anyone who wants to see a rapid transition to renewable energy.
“They show that California is serious about ‘going big’ on floating offshore wind to generate economies of scale and realize the substantial jobs, climate and clean energy benefits of development. responsible for this remarkable renewable energy resource,” Adam Stern, executive director of Offshore Wind California’s trading group, said in a statement.
On Friday, the California Energy Commission released preliminary goals for offshore wind development for 2030 and 2045 that should guide its larger planning efforts. The commission has set itself the goal of developing 3 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, 10 to 15 GW by 2045 and 20 GW by 2050.
This is big news for the fate of the offshore wind industry in Humboldt County and the rest of the California coast. Larry Oetker, executive director of the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District, told The Times-Standard he was confident the Humboldt Wind Energy Area 21 miles off the coast will be fully developed by the end of the decade, contributing 1.6 GW of energy. to power more than half a million homes.
“The reality is that we are in a climate crisis,” Oetker said. “…State and federal governments and other entities that are in charge of this are going to make sure this happens. I am convinced of it because the public will demand it.
The Biden-Harris administration and California are actively working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the deployment of renewable energy, especially offshore wind.
Assembly Bill 525, which took effect this year, is part of those efforts and requires the California Energy Commission to come up with a strategic plan to develop the state’s offshore wind resources. This plan must be submitted to the State Natural Resources Agency and the Legislature by the end of the next fiscal year, June 30, 2023.
Setting goals for the amount of state power that should be generated by offshore wind is part of this planning effort and was to be completed by June 1. The commission is expected to publish a report on the economic benefits of offshore wind for seaports and the workforce as well as a licensing roadmap with timelines and milestones before the end of the year.
Oetker said the target goals align with the port district’s own timetable to modernize the port and prepare it for offshore wind development, which is expected to be around 2025 or 2026.
Even though the North Shore has some of the best wind resources in the world, the commission found that the power system is “relatively isolated” from the rest of the state grid and primarily serves the local community.
“Additional transmission infrastructure will be required to deliver offshore wind energy from this region to the grid,” the report said.
California’s independent system operator, which maintains the reliability of the state’s energy grid, released a 20-year outlook earlier this year that includes plans to modernize the grid to accommodate wind development. offshore in the region.
Norwegian company Aker Offshore Wind is among companies interested in bidding on one of three offshore wind leases in the Humboldt Wind Energy Area that will be offered for sale by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management this fall. The company has been working with the community since 2018 to complete an offshore wind energy project.
Jonah Margulis, senior vice president of Aker Offshore Wind, told The Times-Standard that all of this work by state, federal and local governments signals to developers and businesses throughout the supply chain that there is certainty that a market exists for offshore wind.
It’s good for the workforce, too, said Jeff Hunerlach, district representative for Local No. 3 Operations Engineers. From construction related to harbor improvements to wind turbine deployment, Hunerlach said the Offshore wind development in the region would sustain well-paying jobs in the region for years to come.
The Energy Commission is due to hold a public workshop on preliminary offshore wind energy targets starting at 9.30am on Wednesday, May 18. For more information, visit bit.ly/3N6ND0X.
Sonia Waraich can be reached at 707-441-0504.