California Setting Course to be a Global Leader on Floating Offshore Wind, to Reach Climate, Clean Energy & Grid Reliability Goals, say Leaders at 2024 Pacific Offshore Wind Summit

Federal, state, and industry leaders on Day One of the 2024 Pacific Offshore Wind Summit joined in encouraging California to advance its plans to deploy 25 gigawatts (GW) from offshore wind by 2045, as the state sets a course to be a global leader on floating offshore wind power. Speakers at the Summit, hosted by Offshore Wind California (OWC), urged the state to move expeditiously on essential next steps to develop offshore wind at scale – including investing in transmission and ports, procuring at scale, setting a permitting roadmap, engaging key stakeholders, building a supply chain and workforce training, and defining more lease areas to reach the state's goals.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) is finalizing the state's draft AB 525 Strategic Plan, which was released in January and outlines California's next steps to responsibly develop offshore wind and achieve its planning goals for up to 5 GW by 2030 and 25 GW by 2045. Last fall, Governor Newsom signed AB 1373 enabling the state to procure offshore wind at scale. Last December, California also joined the Global Offshore Wind Alliance and has now signed agreements with NorwayDenmarkJapanChina, and Scotland to advance deployment of floating offshore wind.

"25 GW of offshore wind is a landmark goal. We're all in on building this, bringing it to fruition, and doing it the right way," said David HochschildChair, CEC, of the floating technology California is moving ahead to deploy 20 miles offshore. "That means a very inclusive process, it means a lot of dialogue, and it means really trying to do it in a way that supports and uplifts communities. We see offshore wind playing a fundamental role not just in our climate strategy but our economic future as well. We're going to be adopting, if all goes well, California's strategic plan for offshore wind at our Commission meeting next month," he said to 700+ federal and state officials, industry leaders, and stakeholders attending the Summit.

"Now is the time to address climate change by supporting a thriving domestic offshore wind industry," said Liz KleinDirector, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). "At BOEM, we are proud of the strong partnership we've built with California. We share your enthusiasm over the state's ambitious goals to reach 5 GW by 2030 and 25 GW by 2045. We held our first California lease sale in 2022. We're excited to continue our close partnership as you pursue the state's vision to be a leader in offshore wind, particularly floating offshore wind."

In April, the Biden Administration announced its plan in the next five years for up to 12 rounds of offshore wind leasing, including California, to meet its national goals for 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030, 15 GW of floating wind by 2035, and a path to 110 GW by 2050. BOEM held its first federal auction for California offshore wind in December 2022, identifying five leaseholders to deploy an initial 7 to 10 GW off the state's Central and North Coast, according to industry estimates

"In a California for all, we are creating offshore wind for all," said Jana GanionSenior Advisor, Offshore Wind, Office of Gov. Gavin Newsom. "Offshore wind, if developed responsibly, is a cleaner energy solution at the scale we need to combat the climate emergency. Offshore wind also has the capacity factor and attributes to improve electric reliability and complement other clean energy resources such as solar. And because offshore wind requires supporting industry – ports, transmission, ecosystem management, supply chains – it has considerable promise to create high-quality jobs."

"We are going to go big on offshore wind energy. We're going to go big on our climate goals. And we're going to go big on support for our local communities," said Assemblymember Dawn Addis, (D-San Luis Obispo) California State Assembly. "It's important that as we move offshore wind development forward we're founded in science and we duly engage local communities," said Addis who Chairs the Assembly Select Committee on Offshore Wind and authors legislation to ensure offshore wind co-exists with ocean life and habitat and also to create a capacity-building fund for local communities.

"California is well positioned to be a global leader of floating offshore wind," said Ruth PerryBoard Chair, OWC, a trade group of offshore wind developers and technology firms. "To make it a reality, Offshore Wind California is encouraged by the state's AB 525 Strategic Plan. We urge California to move ahead on the key next steps to responsibly develop offshore wind – which generates power night-and-day – and help the state meet its climate, clean-energy, and grid-reliability goals."

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates California's offshore wind potential at 200 GW, with more than 25 GW in BOEM's two lease areas and the waters off the state's North Coast. Deeper West Coast waters require floating technologies already deployed in other world markets. Reports show that developing 25 GW of Californiaoffshore wind can support thousands of jobs, supply up to 15-20% of the state's planned new clean energy, save ratepayers billions of dollars, drive economies of scale, and generate enough competitively priced electricity to power up to 25 million homes. 

Offshore Wind California's more than 40 members include Burns & McDonnellCrowley Wind ServicesFugro,  General Dynamics NASSCOPacific Ocean Energy TrustPG&EPort of Long BeachShellSSE RenewablesWSPVestas, and XODUS.

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