California’s Independent System Operator (ISO) has recommended new grid projects costing around $6bn to facilitate new clean energy connections to the state’s grid. 

A total of 26 new grid projects have been recommended, including the first phase of connecting offshore wind projects off the state’s North Coast area to the grid, with $4.59bn allocated to develop three significant transmission lines from floating turbines off Humboldt County, which will deliver clean power to California residents. 

The rest of the $6.1bn fund will go towards 19 “reliability-driven” projects that will help California’s power grid cope with the challenges that come with renewable power, specifically focusing on accommodating predicted “load growth and evolving grid conditions as the generation fleet transitions to increased renewable generation”. 

“These projects represent the first wave of development for offshore wind to meet the state’s portfolio needs while also being flexible enough to expand in the future to meet any increased requirements,” said ISO vice-president for infrastructure and operations planning Neil Millar. 

If successful, the plan will help California meet its clean energy goals. The ISO’s 2023 projections suggested that California needs to add 85GW of clean energy generation to help meet future demand as well as greenhouse gas reduction goals. 

The plan also recommends more than 21GW of new geothermal development, primarily in the Imperial Valley and in southern Nevada, in addition to highlighting battery energy storage systems, with a particular focus on projects near major load centres in the LA Basin, greater Bay Area and San Diego.  

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“Major transmission upgrades are complex and require a significant upfront investment,” Millar added. 

“It is crucial that we do all we can to synchronise all of our planning and resource procurement so we can get these transmission lines planned, sited and built as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible. I believe the new approach we started using last year can go a long way toward achieving those objectives.”