Local assemblyman’s offshore wind bill passes first committee
–This week, a bill by Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) that would jumpstart offshore wind projects on the Central Coast passed its first committee. AB 525, which would formalize the state’s commitment to developing offshore wind projects in California, passed out of the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy without a no vote.
“California needs to develop offshore wind projects if it is going to meet its ambitious climate goals – and the Central Coast has the most to gain if we’re able to formalize the state’s commitment to this emerging technology,” said Cunningham. “With the imminent closure of Diablo Canyon, our region needs to identify ways to boost our local economy, create more high-paying jobs, and expand our local tax base. Offshore wind would not only cement the Central Coast’s status as a net energy exporter, but it would also create thousands of local jobs and provide local government with tax revenue to fund critical public services.”
The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has identified two main areas off the coast of California for potential offshore wind development: an area off the Central Coast and an area off the North Coast in Humboldt County. However, the call area off the North Coast would not have easy access to statewide transmission lines, making the Central Coast call areas as the most desirable due to the ability to efficiently deliver electricity across the state, according to Cunningham.
Under current law, the state must procure 60-percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 with a goal of procuring 100-percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2045. The state currently procures 55-percent of its energy from non-carbon emitting sources. However, the state has no viable plan to reach its 60-percent mandate after Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant goes offline in 2025. The development of offshore wind power will help the state meet its renewable energy goals and generate thousands of high-paying jobs across the state.