State Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham announced a new bill that aims to bring sustainable energy to the Central Coast and recycle aspects of an existing power generator.
He co-authored the bill, titled AB525, with Assemblyman David Chiu (D-17) to further California’s renewable energy capabilities and meet state goals.
Cunningham said, “[existing laws] require 65% of our energy be carbon emission-free by 2030, 100% by 2045. What we don't have, though, is a plan to get from point A to B to C and make that a reality."
AB525 lays out a strategy to build offshore wind projects and requires federal, state and local agencies to reach 10 gigawatts of wind power by 2040.
Cunningham told KSBY, “Because one of the major call centers that the federal government is looking at - a place to put offshore wind turbines - is about 40 miles off the coast of Morro Bay and it would tie right in with the existing grid infrastructure at Diablo Canyon."
The Diablo Canyon Power Plant is located near Avila Beach and is slated to close in 2025.
The Assemblyman said, “Given that Diablo is likely to be decommissioned, unfortunately, we need the jobs and we need the power and we need those things right here on the Central Coast and I think offshore wind is a great opportunity for us."
The cables and infrastructure that convey power from the Diablo Canyon Power Plant would be repurposed in the new plan to support the proposed wind developments.
Cunningham described the wind farms as “a series of floating turbines that are about 35-40 miles off the coast that will be moored into the ocean floor with cables and then a cable for transmitting the electrons from the turbines to the shore."
He estimated the project would create 15,000 jobs by 2040, with even more if the assembly on the turbines was located in the same place instead of shipped in from elsewhere by barge.
When asked about the next steps, the Assemblyman said, “I'm cautiously optimistic the Navy will give its blessing hopefully sooner rather than later, and then it’s just a matter of leasing these things out and getting private investment to come in and want to build the turbines."