The state is looking at placing floating wind turbines off the coasts of Morro Bay and Humboldt to add renewable power to the grid. (University of Maine)

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By Suzanne Potter

July 18, 2023

Local elected officials are speaking out in support of two bills to usher in offshore wind in California. Assembly Bill 3 would require the state to complete phase two of the offshore wind strategic plan and study the feasibility of manufacturing and building 70 to 85 percent of the projects in state.

Devin Murphy is mayor of the town of Pinole and an executive chair with MCE Community Choice Energy, a nonprofit that provides clean energy. He explained that strategic plan is key to reaching the state’s goal to deploy 25 GW of offshore wind energy by 2045.

“California still needs to move with speed and scale on steps to bring offshore wind. This includes the transmission and port upgrades it’s procuring at scale. It’s the permitting roadmap, supply chain, logistics, workforce training programs, and all of these have to have objectives and goals,” Murphy explained.

The bills aim to move California away from fossil fuels such as oil and gas while promoting clean-energy jobs. Opponents cite concerns about potential disruptions to marine life and military exercises. AB 80 would require the state’s Ocean Protection Council to establish a nonprofit West Coast Offshore Wind Science Entity – to study the effect of wind farms on the marine ecosystem.

Alex Walker-Griffin, mayor of Hercules and California co-chair of the group Elected Officials to Protect America, explained it is important to make sure that the floating wind turbines and the port infrastructure do not harm the environment.

“What’s it going to mean, in terms of some of the migration patterns for the whales that go up and down the central coast,?” Walker-Griffin said. “Are there chemicals that are going to be used at some of these offshore wind farms and potentially harm the environment?”

Both bills have passed the State Assembly unanimously and are now before the Senate Appropriations Committee.