A state Assembly bill that would centralize the process of buying offshore wind energy has passed both chambers of the legislature and is awaiting signature by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Vineyard Offshore and RWE, companies that each acquired a lease area off Humboldt Bay for offshore wind energy production, have released statements in support of Assembly Bill 1373. The bill has garnered support from environmental advocacy groups as it would bolster renewable energy goals.
The bill would authorize the California Public Utilities Commission to direct the Department of Water Resources to purchase energy and sell it to utility companies and customers. This is called central procurement, ensuring a
buyer for offshore wind energy.
“Central procurement brings California one step closer to establishing a robust offshore wind industry,” said Vineyard Offshore CEO Lars Pedersen in a prepared statement.
A RWE spokesperson said in an email that the bill will jumpstart the development of large-scale projects that are critical to advancing the state’s climate agenda — including RWE’s project off the coast of Humboldt County.
The bill calls on the PUC to “assess barriers to electricity interconnection and energization and provide recommendations on how to accelerate those processes.”
Transmission lines are a major problem in plans to make Humboldt County a contributor to clean energy.
The county’s current transmission lines would not be able to export the electricity generated by offshore wind to the rest of the state.
Advocates for the bill say it will make renewable energy more affordable, help California meet climate goals and help bring thousands of jobs for the massive construction projects associated with offshore wind.
Environment California, an environmental lobbying nonprofit, noted their support of the bill in a press release prepared by a communications consulting firm.
The bill’s text notes that $6,000,000 from the legislature’s general fund would go to researching the environmental impacts of offshore wind.
Unions, including the California State Association of Electrical Workers and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 34 also noted their support in the press release.
The bill includes requirements for a skilled workforce on developers.
The bill was authored by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), is co-authored by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg).