California unveils new funding for offshore wind

California's Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled in his 2022-23 state budget proposal that funding is being made available to support the state's transition to clean energy, including offshore wind and green hydrogen.

The budget includes $2 billion for a Clean Energy Investment Plan that aims to spur additional innovation and deployment of clean energy technologies in the energy system. The plan aims to decrease California’s reliance on fossil fuels while preparing its economy and workforce for a clean energy future.

Under the Clean Energy Investment Plan, a $45 million General Fund in 2022-23 is being set aside to create the Offshore Wind Energy Deployment Facility Improvement Program, which will invest in activities to advance the capabilities of deploying offshore wind energy in federal waters off California in the areas of facility planning and development.

Furthermore, a $100 million General Fund in 2022-23 aims to advance the use and production of green hydrogen, in which electricity is used to split water into oxygen and hydrogen.

In September last year, Governor Newsom approved a bill (AB 525) which seeks to accelerate deployment of offshore wind off the California coast. The bill directs state agencies to evaluate and quantify the range of maximum feasible capacity of offshore wind goals for offshore wind production in 2030 and 2045. This would be completed by 1 June 2022.

The bill also directs the state to create a strategic plan for deploying this new industry, from identifying necessary sea space and developing a local offshore wind workforce to improving port facilities and transmission infrastructure needed to bring this new source of energy online. It would also require the Energy Commission, in coordination with relevant state and local agencies, to develop a plan to improve waterfront facilities that could support a range of floating offshore wind energy development activities. The Energy Commission would be required to submit the strategic plan to the Natural Resources Agency and the Legislature on or before 30 June 2023.

This was followed by news in November that BOEM designated the Morro Bay wind energy area (WEA) offshore California. Located around 20 km from the central California coastline, the WEA is approximately 376 square miles in size. It plans to lease the Morro Bay area this year (2022), as well as the Humboldt WEA, which was designated last year, off the northern Californian coast.

For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.