Monday, September 25, 2023

California is preparing to pass a law that would allow the purchase of offshore wind energy

Officials in California are expected to vote in favor of a bill that would allow the state to purchase large amounts of electricity from offshore wind projects. The aim of this measure is to ensure a stable energy supply and to avoid power outages during extreme heat waves.

Last year, five companies paid about $750 million to lease land off the California coast to build wind turbines. These projects have the potential to generate enough electricity to power 3.5 million homes.

However, due to high costs and long construction times, state-owned utilities were reluctant to purchase electricity from these projects. In addition to building the wind turbines, the projects would require port improvements and new transmission lines to transport energy from sea to land.

The bill would allow the state to purchase the electricity, with funds coming from a surcharge on Californians’ electric bills. The amount of that surcharge would be set by state regulators and consumers would not have to pay it until the wind projects are operational, which is expected to be several years from now.

Supporters argue the bill will ultimately save people money on their electric bills. California is committed to sourcing all of its electricity from renewable or carbon-free sources by 2045, and offshore wind projects are seen as a key component to achieving that goal. These projects generate the most energy at night, when solar energy is least available, making them a valuable source of renewable energy.

Proponents also say that selling all of the electricity from these offshore wind projects to the state, rather than splitting it among multiple utilities, would help control costs and keep rates lower for consumers. However, critics of the bill argue that it will result in higher electricity rates for all Californians.

If the bill passes, the Department of Water Resources would be given authority to purchase the energy, but that authority would expire in 2035. The legislature would have to vote again on an extension.

California has made efforts to transition away from fossil fuels but has faced challenges maintaining a reliable energy supply. During a heat wave in 2020, the state experienced power outages, highlighting the need for additional energy sources.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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