The U.S. industry’s western expansion is an important milestone for global competition and U.S. leadership
For Immediate Release: May 25, 2021
Media Contact: Melinda Skea | [email protected] | 202-709-9793
Baltimore – The White House announced today that the Department of Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Department of Defense have reached an agreement to lease 399-square miles off California’s central coast for offshore wind development. This announcement extends the Biden Administration’s “whole-of-government” approach on offshore wind to the Pacific coast, while crucial state-level legislation to support offshore wind is now advancing through the California State Assembly.
Today’s federal agreement brought together National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, and Under Secretary for Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl, and means that California has a clear pathway to lease areas the state needs to unlock clean energy and economic development. Specifically, an area of Morro Bay in central California will support 3 GW of offshore wind and the Humbolt Call Area will be considered as a potential offshore wind area. These areas will bring up to 4.6 GW of energy to California, enough to power 1.6 million homes.
“This announcement provides a clear path for offshore wind’s expansion to the West Coast and is a vital milestone for many major industry stakeholders,” said Liz Burdock, president and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind. “As the fifth largest economy in the world, the global offshore wind industry has been waiting for California to open. I commend Governor Newsom and his team for working diligently with Congress and the Administration to accomplish this important milestone.”
The Administration’s announcement provides lease areas for the implementation of California’s proposed offshore wind energy goals. Assembly Bill 525 Energy: Offshore Wind Generation was introduced earlier this year by Assembly member David Chiu (D – San Francisco), which he discussed in today’s episode of the Offshore Wind Insider podcast. If enacted, AB-525 will require the California Energy Commission to set offshore wind targets within three months of its passing, expected during fall 2021. Overall, today’s federal announcement is a landmark step forward for offshore wind and interagency collaboration along the Pacific coast.
The Business Network has spent several years laying a foundation that would bring the offshore wind industry to the West Coast, which will have unique offshore wind requirements. Due to the significant water depths in nearshore areas off California, Oregon, and Washington coasts, offshore wind development will require still-developing floating turbine technology. This requirement gives the U.S. the opportunity to drive global offshore wind technology innovation into the next generation. The Network has also assembled specialized experts into a Floating Offshore Wind Working Group, which is developing ideas and strategies to support U.S. floating offshore wind deployment. The Group will publish its first report in early June.
“While interest from the global industry will be unprecedented, West Coast development requires American ingenuity and innovation in next generation technologies that will create opportunities for engineering firms and skilled labor,” added Burdock. “Now that the Federal government has put California’s lease areas in play, the state government’s support of infrastructure, training, and clear market pathways is key to the realization of turbines spinning and leveling out the infamous clean energy duck curve.”
For more information or to arrange an interview with the Network, contact Melinda Skea at [email protected] or 202-709-9793.
- White House Fact Sheet: Biden Admin. Opens Pacific Coast to New Jobs and Clean Energy Production with Offshore Wind Development (May 25, 2021)
- Offshore Wind Insider Podcast: Season 3 Episode 4 with David Chiu
- AB-525 Energy: Offshore Wind Generation
The Business Network for Offshore Wind is the largest non-profit organization dedicated solely to building a robust offshore wind supply chain and expanding adoption of offshore wind energy. It advances the industry through collaboration, education, and innovation, including the International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum (IPF), the leading offshore wind conference in North America, and the OSW Market Dashboard. Learn more at offshorewindus.org.