In the state of California, the ruling Democratic Party is proposing that the state add an extra $1 billion to the state government’s debt in order to fund an overhaul of seaports that will help offshore wind companies build turbine factories in federal waters.
As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, the bill introduced in the Democrat-controlled legislature this week would ask California voters to approve of $1 billion in bonds “for seaport infrastructure improvements to facilitate offshore wind energy projects off the California coast.” The bill was authored by Assemblyman Rick Zbur (D-Calif.).
The proposal comes as the offshore wind industry suffers from dramatically increased costs, which has led to developers canceling or delaying projects on the Northeastern coast. But in California, Governor Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) signed into law a bill that authorized the state to buy the industry’s electricity, no matter the cost, so that the companies will continue to have a market even after the expensive construction of the turbines and other infrastructure has been completed. This law is expected to raise all Californians’ electric bills, though the amount by which it will rise is not yet known.
Skeptics have pointed out that the state of California has repeatedly denied the construction of other, similar coastal projects in the name of protecting the environment, while offshore wind turbines are given a free pass.
“Coastal property owners can’t even build seawalls, and desalination plants with far smaller footprints get denied, but we’re going to rebuild our ports to build hundreds of floating offshore wind parks,” said Edward Ring, cofounder of the California Policy Center. Another reason Ring gave for why offshore wind developers are “so active in California is because countries like Ireland and states like New York are becoming increasingly reluctant to hike the subsidies they need to operate.”
Joe Biden has granted federal ocean leases along the California coastline to five different companies, including one that is led by a Democratic super-donor. Three of the five companies spent over half a million dollars lobbying the California State Legislature. Two other lobbying groups, the American Clean Power Association and the California Wind Energy Association, collectively spent over $300,000 to persuade lawmakers to introduce and pass such legislation.