US Floating Wind Project Planned Near NASA, SpaceX Launch Site Reaches Agreement with DoD

Floventis Energy, the company developing a 60 MW floating wind project in California’s state waters near Vandenberg Space Force Base – which hosts launch pads for NASA and SpaceX spacecraft as well as for US Air Force’s intercontinental missiles – has reached an agreement with the US Department of Defense (DoD) to enable the operation of the floating wind farm.

The developer, a joint venture between Cierco and SBM Offshore, had been in talks with the Department of Defense for two years to find a way for the CADEMO floating wind farm to coexist with the Space Force Base, as the 60 MW project is proposed to comprise four 15 MW wind turbines which will reach 870 feet (approximately 265 metres) in height.

Being in state waters and on a timeline different from that of the future projects in the recently awarded federal lease areas in Morro Bay and off Humboldt, the CADEMO project is looking to have its floating wind turbines spinning as soon as 2027.

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The Mitigation Agreement that Floventis Energy signed with the DoD this week creates a series of de-confliction protocols for the project’s wind turbines to operate in the busy airspace used by Vandenberg’s space launches. Under the agreement, the DoD and Air Force also commit to file non-objection letters with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other federal and state agencies to green-light CADEMO’s permitting process.

“This agreement is a big step, both for our project and for the California offshore wind industry”, said Mikael Jakobsson, Director of Floventis Energy. “The military has many complex operational needs here, and that’s why it took two years of negotiations to hammer out this deal. It helps create a testing and verification process to ensure that offshore renewable energy can coexist with national security”.

Environmental reviews under state and federal laws for the 60 MW floating wind farm are still underway and are expected to be complete with a final permit decision by the California State Lands Commission, to which Floventis submitted an application a few years ago, and permits from other state and federal agencies.

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The wind farm’s proposed location, about 4.5 kilometres off Point Arguello (adjacent to Vandenberg Space Force Base), is unique to California’s coastline, according to the developer, as it has good wind conditions, it is not close to residential areas and does not overlap any sanctuary or natural-resource protected area.

Furthermore, the site has electrical grid connections available nearby and provides exposure to many fish and wildlife species also present in deeper federal waters of the Morro Bay lease area, and it is also close enough to shore to allow scientists and researchers easy access to environmental testing, equipment and mitigation measures, Floventis Energy says on the project’s website.

CADEMO floating wind farm location; Image source: Floventis Energy / CADEMO

According to the information shared on CADEMO’s website, the project will introduce two new forms of floating wind foundations, specially designed to address the deep waters off the coast of California. 

Floventis also says that the 60 MW floating offshore wind project will help generate the knowledge and public acceptance that California needs to successfully grow the sector by being the first in the water and demonstrating innovative practices in the environment and supply chain development, as well as coexistence with the military.

“The climate crisis demands that California develop offshore wind as a component of its strategy of getting to 100 percent clean energy. But this must be done in a manner that meets a wide variety of stakeholder concerns, from the military to Native tribes to labor unions. CADEMO will be operational years before the gigawatt-scale projects in federal waters, and it will help de-risk the process forward and will provide many lessons learned so California can do offshore wind right”, Mikael Jakobsson said.


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