California passes landmark bill moving state closer to target offshore wind energy

“Investing in offshore wind is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to California building an electricity grid that is resilient, reliable and renewable."

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On Thursday, the California State Legislature passed AB 525, a bill that will advance the development of offshore wind generation throughout the state. The assembly bill will “direct state agencies to set statewide goals for offshore wind production and develop a strategic plan for California to achieve large-scale renewable wind energy by 2045,” according to Environment California.

The state, which passed the 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018 requiring the state achieves a carbon-free electric system by 2045, will need a diverse portfolio of clean energy sources, including offshore wind, to meet this goal, experts said. The assembly bill will “direct state agencies to set statewide goals for offshore wind production and develop a strategic plan for California to achieve large-scale renewable wind energy,” according to Environment America.

“The signs of the climate crisis are all around us,” Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), author of the bill, said. “With offshore wind, we have an opportunity to counter the threat of climate change, meet our clean energy goals, and create thousands of new good-paying jobs in the process.”

According to a new report, California’s offshore wind power potential is enough to meet 157 percent of the state’s energy consumption from 2019.

“Investing in offshore wind is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to California building an electricity grid that is resilient, reliable and renewable,” Elizabeth Nickerson, Clean Energy associate with Environment California, said. “This is so vital in the face of such turbo-charged climate calamities as heat waves, fires and drought that are facing our state and our nation. In passing California’s offshore wind bill, the legislature put our state on the right path to building our resilience, improving our air quality, and addressing climate impacts.”

The assembly bill, which will advance the plan for the development of the “first utility-scale” offshore wind project, will need the signature of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who recently announced that “399 square miles of sea space off the California coast would be reserved for offshore wind turbines,” according to Environment California.

“Offshore wind energy can create cleaner air and good local jobs for environmental justice communities,” Eddie Ahn, Executive Director at Brightline Defense, said. “By voting to pass AB 525 today, California legislators took an important step towards ensuring environmental equity and community benefits for frontline communities.”

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