The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) and a consortium of private companies have submitted a lease application to the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to advance the development of a floating wind project off Humboldt County in Northern California.
The 100-150 megawatt (MW) floating offshore wind farm is planned to be located more than 20 miles off the coast of Eureka.
RCEA and the consortium which includes Principle Power, EDPR Offshore North America, and Aker Solutions have been working with members of the community since 2017 to explore and develop the offshore wind potential of Humboldt County. RCEA initiated a competitive process earlier this year and selected the consortium to enter into a public-private partnership to pursue the development of the proposed project.
The project is expected to bring significant economic benefits to the region in the form of jobs and increased spending in the local community and State of California, the developers said. A longer-term goal of the project is for Humboldt Bay to become a central hub of a US west coast offshore wind industry.
“Humboldt County has much to gain by harnessing our offshore wind power potential,” said County Supervisor and RCEA board member Estelle Fennell.
“Coastal resiliency, local jobs, increased investments in economic development, manufacturing, protecting wildlife and future generations of Humboldt County. The State of California set ambitious goals this week by signing Senate Bill 100, reaching for carbon neutrality and 100% clean electricity by 2045. We are at the very beginning of a multi-year process, but so far, the response from the public has been positive.”
RCEA’s work with the Humboldt community, state and federal agencies, and others has generated an overall positive response to the proposed project.
The consortium has engaged in a process to determine a location for the Humboldt offshore site that minimizes impacts to the environment and communities, including commercial fishing, that are active offshore. Based on this interactive process, the proposed lease area will support selecting a final project site for an expected 10-15 turbines that avoids or minimizes impacts on marine navigation corridors, major commercial fishing areas, and environmental resources.
The wind farm is expected to come online in 2024.
RCEA is a local government Joint Powers Agency whose members include the County of Humboldt; the Cities of Arcata, Blue Lake, Eureka, Ferndale, Fortuna, Rio Dell, and Trinidad; and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District.