Northern California OW Potential to Go Under Scrutiny

  • Business & Finance

The California Ocean Protection Council has awarded the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University with a USD 623,000 grant to study the feasibility of offshore wind generation for the Northern California coast.

The project will focus on assessing the environmental impacts, determining the required modifications of coastal infrastructure, examining stakeholder benefits and impacts, as well as evaluating local, state, and federal policies as they relate to offshore wind development.

The Schatz Research Center is collaborating with ecological consultants from H.T. Harvey and Associates, coastal engineering specialists from Mott MacDonald and faculty in the Economics and Environmental Science & Management departments at Humboldt State.

The project is expected to commence early next year.

To remind, in September California committed to achieving a 100% renewable energy target by the end of 2045.

A month later, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued a Call for Information and Nominations to identify companies interested in commercial wind energy leases within three proposed areas off central and northern California.

According to the Schatz center, offshore wind in California could provide a more consistent power flow to the grid compared to other renewable sources, which would then support the increased integration of technologies with highly variable daily generation, such as solar.

However, the state’s deep ocean floor, sensitive ecosystems, seismic activity, and protected coastlines, will require careful research and development to responsibly develop offshore wind projects and engaging the coastal communities in early research and planning is critical for successful future development efforts, the center said.

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