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California assembly members believe climate bond has a 60% chance of passing

Highlights

Climate bond could go before voters in November

California goal of 5 GW of offshore wind by 2030

  • Author
  • Kassia Micek
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  • Gary Gentile
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power Energy Transition

California assembly members believe a $15 billion climate bond, which would include $1 billion related to offshore wind, has a 60% chance of passing.

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On the state assembly side, elected officials have been advocating for a climate bond that would include $1 billion to show the state's commitment to offshore wind, California State Assembly Member Rick Chavez Zbur said May 14 during the Pacific Offshore Wind Summit 2024 in Sacramento. The hope is the bond would facilitate bringing in more money from the federal government and generating the private investment that is needed for the $12 billion to upgrade all of the state's ports.

"We really need to focus on the ports, and we need to focus on the ports this year because every year we don't is another year that we're actually going to miss that 2030, we're going to delay that 2030 goal," Zbur said.

The bond could go before voters in November.

"The reality is we're kind of getting our butt kicked right now," California State Assembly Member Cottie Petrie-Norris said. "Texas is right now the leader in terms of actually getting clean energy projects cited, built and getting clean energy is on the grid. And I think that there are a number of things that we need to do better if we are actually going to deliver on our goals."

Areas of focus

There are three areas to look at in order to deliver on clean energy goals, she said.

One is a clean energy deployment plan because the state has not done a good job of connecting the dots between goals and projects on the ground.

"If we want to achieve this goal, what do we really need to get online in the ground month by month over the course of the next 10 years," Petrie-Norris said.

Second, meaningful permitting and regulatory reform is needed to provide certainty.

"As you go down this path and as you identify obstacles in permitting and working with our regulatory agencies, the more specific that you can be with us in terms of feedback, input and suggestions the more powerful that this relationship will be," Petrie-Norris said. "We need you to come to us with specific recommendations so that we can actually move the ball forward."

Third is market signals from the state of California in the form of commitments.

"On the central procurement side, you need to believe that the state of California is really aiming for a 10-GW target," Petrie-Norris said. "I'm hearing that loud and clear. Equally, we recognize that the importance of investment in our port infrastructure is important, both for the actual financial investment."

Transmission and ports

"Folks understand how important it is to meet our climate goals, but even folks in the environmental community don't really understand how significant the challenges that are ahead of us are - why it is that we need to be planning now, why it is that we need to be focusing on the financing of the port infrastructure now why we need to start thinking about the transmission now," Zbur said.

Transmission planning needs to start now, but transmission doesn't have to be there until projects are online, which gives the state time to work on it, Zbur said.

"But the ports, that's something that's urgent," Zbur said, adding it typically takes six years to get ports entitled, which is how long the state has to meet its' 2030 offshore wind goal. "And we've got to get the ports entitled and built before we can start the assembly."

Understanding offshore wind

"I don't think that offshore wind is well understood by the public at all," Petrie-Norris said. "I don't think people have the foggiest notion. I don't think offshore wind is particularly well understood by many of our colleagues, particularly when you talk about the scale of these projects, just the Herculean challenge that it's going to be to actually get this off the ground, get these ports redeveloped."

California has a goal of 5 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 25 GW by 2045.

"We have a lot of work to do between now and this becoming a reality," Zbur said.

The state' regulatory structure is not designed for this kind of huge challenge that the industry faces, he added.

"We're not going to meet our climate goals unless we're successful with offshore," Zbur said. "It's just such a big component of our strategy that we need to really be very focused on making sure that we're making the right decisions to make it a reality because ... that component of our energy portfolio is a really crucial one if we're going to meet our very ambitious climate goals that we set in the state of California."