Statement: California Energy Commission releases big offshore wind target

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Sacramento, Calif.— As California seeks to secure a 100% renewable electricity grid to address the climate crisis, the California Energy Commission (CEC) has released their initial Offshore Wind report with goals of 3,000 MW of offshore wind energy by 2030 and 10,000 to 15,000 MW by 2045 with a potential of 20,000 MW by 2050, with sufficient technological improvements.

Offshore Wind Now, a coalition of advocates representing labor, climate, environmental justice, business organizations and local elected officials have called for 10,000 to 20,000 MW of offshore wind by 2045 and 3,000 to 5,000 MW by 2030 which they say is needed to secure reliable clean energy and a more resilient grid, meet emissions reductions targets and ensure healthier air for California communities. In a letter to the CEC, the advocates argued that to realize a large-scale offshore wind industry over the next two decades, the state must set a strong, meaningful goal and begin planning to reach that target today. 

California has abundant offshore wind potential. Environment California Research & Policy Center’s report Offshore Wind for America found that California’s offshore wind technical potential —391.9 TWh — is enough to supply more than 1.5 times as much electricity as Californians used in 2019. The same report found that offshore wind could meet 52% of 2050 electricity usage in California with full electrification of the economy, including transportation, heating and cooling.

In response, Environment California Research & Policy Center State Director Laura Deehan issued the following statement:

“The powerful winds off the Pacific coast are one of California’s largest untapped sources of renewable energy. Today’s announcement of goals from 10,000- 20,000 MW mean that now we are really sailing towards a brighter, 100% renewable future.”

In response, Environment America Research & Policy Center Senior Director, Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy, Johanna Neumann, issued the following statement:

“The sooner we tap into America’s abundant offshore wind potential, the sooner we’ll have cleaner air and less global warming pollution. California set a goal for 100% clean energy and today’s step forward shows they are serious about hitting it. As we learned from the moonshot, an ambitious common goal creates the space for the discoveries, innovations and actions that make the seemingly impossible, possible.”