Public-Private Partnership Works Toward California Floating Offshore Wind

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The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) has selected a consortium of companies to enter into a public-private partnership to pursue the development of a floating offshore wind project off the northern California coast.

The consortium – Principle Power Inc., EDPR Offshore North America LLC, Aker Solutions Inc., H. T. Harvey & Associates, and Herrera Environmental Consultants Inc. – was one of the six respondents to the request for qualifications (RFQ) issued by the RCEA on Feb. 1.

The 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. The purpose of the energy authority is to develop and implement sustainable energy initiatives that reduce energy demand, increase energy efficiency, and advance the use of renewable resources available in the region for the benefit of the member agencies and their constituents.

The proposed project is a 100 MW-150 MW floating offshore wind farm proposed more than 20 miles off the coast of Eureka.

“We believe this project can represent a game-changer for the industry in the U.S.,” says Joao Metelo, Principle Power’s president and CEO. “The establishment of a public-private partnership with a community-based energy provider like RCEA represents a unique opportunity to develop a project with strong foundations from the get-go and to build a comprehensive launching pad for a successful industry in the West Coast.”

“We are excited to be part of this first commercial-scale project for floating offshore wind in the United States,” notes Jonah Margulis, vice president and U.S. country manager at Aker Solutions. “Combining our capabilities with Principle Power’s technology can help mature the local supply chain, potentially generating industry growth in Humboldt County and the state of California.”

According to the RCEA, Humboldt County has advantages that make it a prospective stepping stone for the offshore wind energy industry on the West Coast: The wind resource off the Humboldt County coast has average wind speeds of more than 10 m/s.

RCEA and the selected consortium will be negotiating and finalizing a partnership agreement in the coming weeks. They are working toward a goal of submitting a lease application later this spring. Under the leadership of the energy authority, the project partners will also continue community and stakeholder outreach to understand and address all the facets of developing a project of this kind – minimizing any potential impacts and maximizing local community benefits.

According to the RCEA, the project is expected to drive investment in local infrastructure at the Port of Humboldt Bay and other nearby onshore facilities. The project, requiring skilled labor, will also create local jobs and workforce training, thus advantageously positioning Humboldt County as a hub for future offshore wind development throughout the West Coast, says the RCEA.

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