New bill to create a $1 billion bond for offshore wind ports

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Investment in clean energy infrastructure would be big step towards state climate goals

SACRAMENTO, Calif. Assembly Democratic Caucus Chair Rick Chavez Zbur (Hollywood), Assembly Speaker Pro-Tempore Jim Wood (Healdsburg), and Assemblymember Josh Lowenthal (Long Beach) announced today that they will introduce a bill to place a $1 billion bond to fund port infrastructure improvements crucial to planned offshore wind projects along the California coast. The bill will be placed on the ballot in November. Offshore wind power is essential to provide the electrification that California needs to meet its ambitious climate goals. 

“California will not meet its ambitious climate goals without offshore wind power, and we need to invest in our ports to make offshore wind a reality,” said Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur. “We need to double the amount of electricity that we’re producing today. Offshore wind is a key part of what we must do to save our planet. The cost of improving our ports to enable them to assemble these massive turbines is a multibillion-dollar effort. This one-billion-dollar bond sends the signal that the state is committed to offshore wind and will spur the public and private investment necessary to fund these port improvements fully.”

Environment California is one of the bill sponsors. State Director Laura Deehan said,  “Our state set a goal to power 25 million homes with offshore wind by 2045 and 5 million by 2030. The turbines to catch the wind will be as tall as the Golden Gate Bridge’s towers, so we have serious work ahead to upgrade California ports to be able to launch these huge structures from the coast into deep water 25 miles offshore.” 

While providing just a fraction of the necessary funding to upgrade in-state port infrastructure, the bond is intended to signal the state’s commitment to offshore wind and catalyze strategies for both the public and private investment that will be required to fully fund the multi-billion dollar estimated costs to improve ports for offshore wind.

Last month the federal government granted nearly half a billion for upgrades to the port of Humboldt to get ready for offshore wind. “Seaport infrastructure is absolutely foundational to accomplishing offshore wind energy projects in California,” said Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jim Wood (Healdsburg). “It is critical that we prioritize and support offshore wind now, not later, because it is essential to meeting California’s energy needs and our clean energy goals.” The recently released AB525 report indicates the state needs at least $11 Billion in upgrades.

Long Beach is one of the sites vying to play a critical role in offshore wind’s future. “Offshore wind is a unicorn for the men and women disproportionately impacted by the oil economy and horrific air quality in my community,” said Assemblymember Josh Lowenthal (Long Beach). “Not only does it help meet the state’s aggressive climate goals, we can leverage our port infrastructure to transition to good-paying, clean energy union jobs that will drive the greatest economic growth engine in the region.”

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