Legislation That Would Fund Offshore Wind Efforts at Calif. Ports Introduced

A photo illustration of the Port of Long Beach’s proposed Pier Wind project. Image: POLB.

California state Assembly members Josh Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) and Rick Chavez Zbur (D-Hollywood) on Feb. 7 introduced AB 2208, a bill seeking voter approval for a proposed $1 billion bond to fund seaport infrastructure for potential offshore wind energy projects.

“To meet our climate goals, we need to produce enough offshore wind energy to power up to 25 million homes by 2045,” Zbur told Los Angeles’ ABC News affiliate. “The cost of improving our ports to enable them to assemble these massive turbines is a multibillion-dollar effort.”

“This $1 billion bond,” he continued, “sends the signal that the state is committed to offshore wind and seeks to spur the public and private investment necessary to fund these port improvements fully.”

Offshore wind efforts on the West Coast have been ramping up since 2021 when the Biden administration announced that the region would be open to offshore wind development for the first time. This is part of the administration’s overall goal to generate 30 gigawatts of domestic offshore wind by 2030.

The Port of Long Beach is currently trying to develop a 400-acre terminal called Pier Wind, aimed at assembling offshore wind turbines destined for potential wind farms off the Central and Northern California coasts.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the managing federal oversight authority on two leases in Northern California off Humboldt County and three in Central California near Morro Bay, is collecting input on the potential environmental impact of future offshore wind lease development.

Offshore wind development has received pushback from the region’s fishing and maritime communities who have expressed concerns about how it could impact fishing stocks and vessel traffic.

By Karen Robes Meeks