- Published: 15 May 2023 15 May 2023
The California Energy Commission (CEC) has adopted a report describing various options for a coordinated, comprehensive and efficient permitting and environmental review process of offshore wind projects off the California coast.
The report, titled Assembly Bill 525 Offshore Wind Energy Permitting Roadmap, was developed in response to Assembly Bill 525 (Chiu, Chapter 231, Statutes of 2021). The law also resulted in the CEC establishing a goal to deploy up to 5,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030 and 25,000 MW of offshore wind by 2045.
CEC staff considered a few approaches and concluded that a coordinated approach would leverage existing expertise and staff resources housed in each state agency while allowing for permitting process improvements and streamlining, which can result in faster and more predictable project permitting. However, staff emphasized it is important to evaluate and vet additional options and suggestions fully before deciding the best permitting pathway.
The report includes information on state permitting agencies and processes for a more complete picture of the landscape beyond the federal processes. It delineates responsibilities each agency has for different aspects of offshore wind development, including application and review process for projects within their jurisdictions.
It also describes the existing review timelines that a project currently would follow, estimating it could take between 6 and 10 years for a project developer to obtain all the needed federal approvals, 4 to 6 years to obtain the state approvals, and 2 to 3 years to obtain local approvals before construction could begin.
The CEC developed this report in coordination with federal, state, and local agencies, tribal governments, and stakeholders such as fishery groups and other ocean users.