Fri. Sep 30th, 2022

Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo), an Assemblymember believes the Central Coast may become the United States’ clean energy hub, and a recently enacted measure moves the region closer to creating offshore wind power. On September 23, Cunningham’s offshore wind power legislation, AB 525, was enacted. According to the lawmaker, this is California’s first pledge to offshore wind in the history of state law.

“It establishes several benchmarks or timelines for PUC [Public Utilities Commission] to investigate and report on what is viable to create in terms of gigawatt capacity,” Cunningham explained. Offshore wind generation requires a land-based substation to connect to the state grid. Because existing PG&E substations in Morro Bay and Diablo Canyon could both be utilized to bring offshore power to coast, the Central Coast is an attractive choice, according to Cunningham. In terms of where turbines will be built, the most likely location is off the Morro Bay’s coast.

“I’ve been working with [United States Rep.] Salud Carbajal’s office, [United States Rep.] Kevin McCarthy’s office, the Pentagon, and the Department of the Interior for the past three and a half years to attempt to gain approval for leasing out this [Morro Bay] ocean space, that is in federal waters,” Cunningham said. “This year, we finally received it, so the timing is ideal. With this legislation, we have been able to enshrine for the first time in state policy and legislation a commitment from California to explore offshore wind generation.” Cunningham stated “we don’t really have a strategy in California to substitute that 9% of state’s energy grid” which Diablo Canyon provides as it nears decommissioning. Wind energy may be able to fill the void.

Cunningham explained, “We require the power to substitute Diablo Canyon’s power, and we require to generate it in a way that qualifies as renewable within current state law.” “Should it get developed to its utmost capacity, it would have the potential for Three gigawatts,” he added if Morro Bay Ocean space gets leased for the wind energy development. “Diablo is roughly 2. As a result, they will be able to replace 150% of the Diablo Canyon electricity.”

The federal government has already approved the Morro Bay location, but it will still require to be leased by the private sector. Major energy firms, according to Cunningham, have already expressed interest. “It was stated the other day that Shell and BP, as well as others,” Cunningham continued, “are quite keen in ensuring this thing get to be developed.” Wind turbines are often misunderstood as being visible from the shore.

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