Californian Port to Get USD 400+ Million for Floating Wind Terminal

The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District will receive USD 426.7 million to build a terminal that will serve the construction and maintenance of floating offshore wind farms.

The grant is for the Humboldt Bay Offshore Wind MVP (Minimum Viable Port) project and was awarded by the US Department of Transportation through its Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight & Highway Projects (INFRA) grant programme, which received a substantial funding increase through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The Humboldt Bay Offshore Wind MVP project will involve the construction of a modern marine terminal primarily for the transport, import, staging, preassembly, final assembly, launch, in-water construction, and long-term maintenance of floating offshore wind turbines in the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District.

According to the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District website, the grant “will be used to finalize project design and to fund project construction, including access roads, onsite utilities, a 40-acre upland staging site, a 1,200 linear foot wharf, and a several acre berth.” 

The grant will also cover works such as environmental restoration and an eco-shoreline.

The grant was announced on 23 January by US Senators Alex Padilla and Laphonza Butler, together with Representative Jared Huffman.

“Offshore wind energy is essential to combating the increasingly devastating effects of climate change as California strives to reach 100 percent carbon-free power,” said Senator Padilla. “This substantial investment in the Harbor District will not only boost economic development in the Humboldt community, but also move us closer toward our clean energy and grid reliability goals. Once again, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is delivering for California and creating good-paying jobs by funding innovative clean energy technology.”

In a document listing the recipients of the INFRA awards, the Department of Transportation notes that the Humboldt Bay Offshore Wind MVP project will rehabilitate a defunct marine terminal and establish the first offshore wind terminal on the Pacific Coast.

“By establishing the first offshore wind terminal on the Pacific Coast there are vast opportunities to reduce greenhouse gases and generate clean energy The project directly and indirectly will result in restoration of the local environment,” the document reads.

In Humboldt Bay, two floating wind sites are currently under development, following the lease sale in 2022, the first in the US to allocate offshore areas for floating wind projects. RWE secured the lease area OCS-P 0561 and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), through its project company California North Floating, won development rights for the lease area OCS-P 0562.

After being revealed as provisional winners in December 2022, the developers announced that their lease areas have the potential to accommodate 1.6 GW (RWE) and over 1 GW (Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners) of installed offshore wind capacity.

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Plans to build a dedicated terminal for floating wind in Humboldt County were introduced at the beginning of 2022.

In early 2022, the California Energy Commission (CEC) approved a USD 10.5 million grant for renovations at the Port of Humboldt Bay that would see the port getting a dedicated terminal for offshore wind.

In October of that year, Crowley entered into an agreement with the Port of Humboldt Bay to exclusively negotiate to be the developer and operator of the terminal.

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