September 8, 2022 –
Today, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Ranking Member Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) and U.S. Rep. Connie Conway (R-Calif.) joined a subcommittee field hearing in Morro Bay, Calif. on the issue of offshore wind energy in the American West.
“I appreciate the invitation from my good friend Chairman Lowenthal to discuss a new opportunity for power generation in the West,” Stauber said. “I am a supporter of an all-of-the-above approach to energy, which includes offshore wind among many other sources. However, let’s not forget that wind power requires massive amounts of metals to create, including nearly 10,000 pounds of copper alone, along with massive amounts of steel, nickel, and more. This is why we need to increase our domestic critical mineral supply, including through projects in my northern Minnesota district that the Biden Administration and House Democrats oppose for political reasons. I look forward to learning more about offshore wind opportunities in the Pacific by listening to the witnesses from diverse backgrounds, including the Defense Department, labor, commercial fishing, and more.”
“The mismanagement of California’s natural resources and its energy supply has resulted in debilitating crises including rolling blackouts, water shortages, and wildfires,” Conway said. “Instead of continuing with these self-inflicted disasters, California should adopt a common-sense, all-of-the-above energy policy that would reduce energy prices, guarantee our food supply, and keep the lights on.”
Wind energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) has the potential to create jobs and diversify the energy sector. However, there are many competing interests that enjoy access to the OCS, complicating wind energy deployment off the California shoreline and elsewhere in the U.S.
California’s large population has a correspondingly high energy demand, which often overwhelms the state’s grid. Just this week, the state’s grid operator, California ISO, declared an Energy Emergency level 3, the highest category of energy emergency. The state has resorted to threatening rolling blackouts and is asking residents not to charge their electric vehicles, despite approving a plan two weeks ago to eliminate all gas-power cars by 2035. The state has also enacted laws to meet 100 percent of its electricity needs from zero-carbon sources by 2045, which will only exacerbate energy reliability challenges.
While offshore wind development would provide opportunities to diversify California’s energy supply, California should pursue an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy to address ongoing electricity reliability concerns and rising prices for ratepayers.
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