August 04, 2022

California Increases Offshore Wind Development Goals


August 11, 2022, update: On August 10, 2022, the CEC made it official, adopting the ABA 525 report and setting planning goals of 2-5 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 25 GW by 2045—enough electricity to power 3.75 million homes initially and 25 million by mid-century.

On August 1, 2022, the California Energy Commission (CEC) issued an updated ABA 525 report that expanded the state’s offshore wind planning goals from 3 gigawatts (GW) to up to 5 GW by 2030. The CEC found that the 2030 goal would be fulfilled from full development of the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area (WEA) off central California or a combination of partial development of the Morro Bay WEA and the Humboldt WEA off northern California. It is estimated that up to 5.3 GW of offshore wind from central California could be delivered through the existing transmission system but that the estimated transmission infrastructure for 1.6 GW from the Humboldt WEA would cost $2.1 to $4.0 billion.

To complete the strategic plan, the CEC recommended establishing a preliminary planning goal of 25 GW of offshore wind by 2045. These goals for 2030 and 2045 will be evaluated as part of the ABA 525 strategic plan and voted on by commissioners at an August 10 meeting. CEC’s updated report follows Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement last month of 20 GW of offshore wind development by 2045, which the CEC has now increased to 25 GW by 2045.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has already taken steps toward meeting the state’s goals. On May 26, 2022, BOEM issued a Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) that included three proposed lease areas in the Morro Bay WEA and two proposed in the Humboldt WEA. (See our Legal Update Biden Administration Proposes First-Ever California Offshore Wind Lease Sale.) The public review and comment period for the PSN closed on August 1. BOEM is expected to release a Final Sale Notice (FSN) in the coming months, which will provide the final details concerning, among other things, the lease areas to be auctioned, auction details, and lease stipulations. The FSN will be published in the Federal Register 45 days before the lease sale and will provide its date and time. BOEM plans to hold a competitive auction for lease areas off California in the fourth quarter of 2022.

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