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    California Sets Aggressive Offshore Wind Target

    May 13, 2022 - By Mr J. Paul Forrester, Lauren A. Bachtel and Eric Pogue


      California's Assembly Bill 525 (AB 525) directed that, on or before June 1, 2022, the California Energy Commission (CEC) shall "evaluate and quantify the maximum feasible capacity of offshore wind to achieve reliability, ratepayer, employment, and decarbonization benefits and shall establish megawatt offshore wind planning goals for 2030 and 2045."

      On May 6, 2022, the CEC issued a draft report-the first of four required under AB 525-that proposes a "maximum feasible capacity" of 3 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind (OSW) for California by 2030 and a further 10-15 GW of OSW by 2045. In addition, the CEC report notes that "by 2045 there may be sufficient technological developments and related cost reductions driven by innovation in floating offshore wind components such as advanced monitoring systems, mooring systems, flexible cabling, and increased turbine size. Such technological developments could support a faster rate of offshore wind deployment that could potentially support a larger megawatt planning goal of up to 20 GW between 2045 and 2050."

      These seem to be aggressive targets given that (1) there is currently no OSW off the coast of California, (2) BOEM has only recently released its environmental review for the Humboldt Wind Energy Area, (3) BOEM has not yet scheduled an OSW lease auction for California,1 and (4) floating turbines are the likely technology.2

      Under AB 525, no later than June 30, 2023, the CEC, in coordination with federal, state and local agencies and a wide variety of stakeholders, must develop a strategic plan for offshore wind energy developments installed off the California coast in federal waters and submit it to the California Natural Resources Agency and the legislature. The strategic plan is to be informed by interim activities and products developed by the CEC that include the May 6 report and two additional reports due on or before December 31, 2022. The two additional reports include:

      • Assessing the economic benefits of offshore wind as they relate to seaport investments and workforce development needs and standards
      • Preparing a permitting roadmap that describes time frames and milestones for a coordinated, comprehensive and efficient permitting process for offshore wind energy facilities and associated electricity and transmission infrastructure off the California coast


      1. See our prior, May 6, 2022, Legal Update "US BOEM Issues Final Environmental Review for Offshore Wind Area Off Northern California"

      2. See our prior, May 26, 2021, Legal Update "US Offshore Wind Goes West (Maybe)"

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