The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), with support from a consortium of private companies, has submitted a lease application to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to advance the development of an offshore wind energy project off the coast of Humboldt County in Northern California.
The 100-150 MW floating offshore wind farm, comprising 10-15 turbines, is planned to be located more than 20 miles off the coast of Eureka.
RCEA and the consortium, which includes Principle Power Inc., EDPR Offshore North America LLC and Aker Solutions Inc., 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. Since its founding in 2003, RCEA, a local government joint powers agency, has provided an array of energy services to Humboldt County residents and businesses.
In recent months, RCEA says it has done an increasing amount of community outreach – informing the public and commercial interests, gathering feedback, and listening to and incorporating the concerns and desires of the region – to form the basis for the lease application submitted to BOEM. 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. A longer-term goal of the project is for Humboldt Bay to become a central hub of a West Coast offshore wind industry.
The agency says the location of the project was selected to minimize impacts to the environment and communities, including commercial fishing. The proposed lease area will support selecting a final project site that avoids or minimizes impacts on marine navigation corridors, major commercial fishing areas and environmental resources.
“We wanted a project of this magnitude to move forward with the local community having a strong role throughout the process,” says Matthew Marshall, executive director of RCEA. “We are extremely excited that we’ve been able to partner with such a highly capable and experienced team of companies that are committed to that vision of a community-led project.”
RCEA and its consortium are working to bring the project online in 2024. They will continue to focus on community and stakeholder outreach to understand and address potential concerns.