Congress came to town as the government gears up to open the West Coast to offshore wind energy, and REACH was among those tapped to provide insight and perspective.
The Sept. 8 field hearing in Morro Bay — “Power in the Pacific: Unlocking Offshore Wind Energy for the American West” — was a wide-ranging examination of the issues involved as the wind energy areas off Morro Bay and Humboldt prepare for lease auction in the coming months.
REACH VP of Policy + Economic Development Joshua Boswell addressed the economic impacts, underscoring the need for community benefit agreements to mitigate negative impacts as well as investment in onshore infrastructure on the Central Coast to help the region capture new jobs and jumpstart the industry.
“Our community has the will to position the Central Coast as a hub for our renewables future, building on our role as an energy powerhouse and national environmental leader,” he said. “We are organized, engaged and planning proactively. It is important to show that the energy transition can happen here in a way that doesn’t leave communities behind – and offshore wind is central to that effort.”
He joined more than a dozen witnesses, including tribal and fishing representatives, Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, County Supervisors Dawn Marie Ortiz-Legg and Debbie Arnold, and officials from Offshore Wind California, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the California Energy Commission. Central Coast Congressmen Salud Carbajal and Jimmy Panetta were among the representatives presiding over the hearing.
The key takeaway?
Lots of moving pieces are still being put in place, but the process is moving quickly toward the lease auction this year.
“The goal is to … have these projects in the water by 2030.” — Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Pacific Regional Director Doug Boren
In other developments, offshore wind is gaining serious velocity.
- California adopted nation-leading offshore wind goals — 5GW by 2030 and 25GW by 2045, enough to power upward of 25 million homes. Watch this short video to see “watt’s up” with offshore wind in the state.
- The White House announced bold new programs to launch the industry and lower costs by 2035. Alongside ambitious goals, it includes prize competitions, research awards and a Floating Offshore Wind Shot to accelerate deployment.
- Those plans include $1 million to develop a West Coast port strategy. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a technical advisor on our Central Coast waterfront infrastructure study, will lead that effort, wrapping our study results in state and national assessments.