CA Offshore ¾ Billion Dollar Wind Farm Auction & Environmental Justice, Alexandria, VA Test Drives EV Trash Truck!

by | Dec 14, 2022 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

CA Offshore Wind Farm Auction Nets ¾ Billion Dollars, CA Offshore Wind Farm Auction and Environmental Justice, Alexandria, VA Test Drives EV Trash Truck



The Biden administration had set a goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030, with a goal of deploying 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind by 2035. In a major leap forward to achieving those goals, last week, the government’s first auction for wind development off the US Pacific coast took place— scoring over $750 million in two days of bidding. The auction was the third major offshore lease sale this year, but the first on the West Coast. Five companies won the rights to develop about 4.6 gigawatts of offshore wind turbine capacity, or according to the Department of the Interior, enough to power more than 1.5 million homes.

Adam Stern, executive director of Offshore Wind California, a trade group for industry developers and technology companies, said, “The auction is great news for California’s offshore wind industry, workers, and electricity ratepayers. It’s the most consequential milestone yet for the Golden State’s efforts to make offshore wind a key part of its diverse clean energy future.” Why does this matter to us? The auction is the first U.S. sale to support the development of commercial-scale floating wind turbine technology, a relatively new technology. According to National Renewable Energy Lab experts, foundations rigidly attached to the seafloor are impractical in deep waters, and the waters deepen quickly off the West Coast, compared to the East Coast. That creates additional challenges for offshore wind energy developers. 

That’s why the development of floating offshore wind energy technology is so important. Experts say construction is at least five to six years away. Issues like the high costs of construction, the logistics of producing the energy and bringing it to shore, and the environmental risks to marine life and commercial fisheries must also be addressed. 

DEEPER DIVE:, UPI, NorCal Public Media



Part of the auction went to companies that actively promised an enviro justice component. What do I mean by that? According to a statement from the Interior Department, the lease sale included a 20 percent credit for bidders who promised to participate in initiatives that support workforce training programs or the development of a domestic wind supply chain. Furthermore, that credit will result in more than $117 million in investments for these programs. The auction also included 5 percent credits for bidders who committed to entering what is known as “community benefit agreements.”

Under such agreements, the companies work with communities, stakeholder groups or tribal entities who are expected to face impacts from the development of the lease areas or from the use of resources harvested from these areas. The credit system “will result in tangible investments for the floating offshore wind workforce,” while benefiting “tribes, communities, and ocean users potentially affected by future offshore wind activities,” said Amanda Lefton, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. San Francisco City Attorney and former Assembly member David Chiu authored AB 525, passed in 2021, which required the state Energy Commission to establish offshore wind planning goals for 2030 and 2045 and develop a five-part strategic plan by 2023. 

He said strong workforce training programs and community benefit agreements, especially with Native American tribes, will be crucial to implementing the law. The potential impacts on commercial fisheries also must be considered. Companies that develop offshore wind projects in California also will be required to enter into labor agreements and work with Native American tribes before beginning construction. Chiu went on to say the burgeoning industry could help grow the state economy by adding thousands of good-paying union jobs in multiple sectors and helping fossil fuel workers transition into renewables.

DEEPER DIVE:, UPI, NorCal Public Media, The Hill



Last week, Alexandria , VA’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services began test driving new electric trash trucks. Alexandria is a suburb of Washington, DC. Director of T&ES Yon Lambert said in an interview, “We are exploring ways to build sustainability and resiliency to protect our City and environment now and for the next generation,” Lambert said. “This test drive will help the City gauge if this is a way we can continue working toward our sustainability goals. If the electric refuse truck is a viable option for us, it could be considered in a future year budget process.” The electric refuse truck is ideal for urban areas like ours because we take garbage collection to a local waste-to-energy facility, versus a landfill that would require a longer trip.

The truck is being tested as part of a week-long demo by truck company Mack at no cost to the city. Mack Trucks was founded in 1900 and is one of North America’s largest manufacturers of medium-duty trucks, heavy-duty trucks, proprietary engines and transmissions. It currently offers two EV trash trucks, the LR and LR3. The LR is a rear-mounted, manual trash hauler, while the LR3 is an automated, side loader. Why does this matter to us? As the social media manager for the department said on Twitter, “This week, our crews are test-driving electric refuse trucks. They’re quieter and deliver pollution reduction benefits.”

DEEPER DIVE: Alexandria D&TES  , Mack Trucks, AlxNow, Twitter