The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), with support from a consortium of private companies, has submitted a lease application to the 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.
RCEA and the consortium, which includes Principle Power, 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 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 U.S. west coast offshore wind industry.
“Humboldt County has much to gain by harnessing our offshore wind-power potential,” said County Supervisor and RCEA board member Estelle Fennell. “Coastal resiliency, local jobs, increased investments in economic development, manufacturing, protecting wildlife, and future generations of Humboldt County. The State of California set ambitious goals this week by signing Senate Bill 100, reaching for carbon neutrality and 100% clean electricity by 2045. We are at the very beginning of a multi-year process, but so far, the response from the public has been positive. Humboldt County has a long history of innovative leadership when it comes to renewable energy solutions.”
RCEA’s work with the Humboldt community, state and federal agencies, and others has generated an overall positive response to the proposed project and sets the framework for successfully delivering clean energy to local ratepayers at a competitive cost, under an efficient, locally driven and guided development philosophy. RCEA and the consortium will continue to focus on community and stakeholder outreach during this multi-year process to understand and address potential concerns.
“The Chamber supports economic development opportunities with offshore wind and clean energy and supports efforts to keep Humboldt County and California competitive in this growing industry,” said Donna Wright, Executive Director of the Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce.” Business plays a key role in community leadership and by working with RCEA and their consortium we want the community to know that we are committed to supporting policies and advocating for programs that promote economic, environmental, and community sustainability.”
RCEA and its project partners engaged in a systematic, comprehensive process to determine a location for the Humboldt offshore site that minimizes impacts to the environment and communities, including commercial fishing, that are active offshore. Based on this interactive process, the proposed lease area will support selecting a final project site for an expected 10 to 15 turbines that avoids or minimizes impacts on marine navigation corridors, major commercial fishing areas, and environmental resources.
RCEA‘s project partners bring the expertise needed to develop, finance, and operate projects as well as build an offshore wind energy supply chain. The complementary capabilities of Principle Power, EDPR, and Aker Solutions bring the long-term commitment needed for a successful project. RCEA and its consortium of development partners are working to bring the project online in 2024, which will help unlock the extraordinary value of offshore wind energy for California.
“We wanted a project of this magnitude to move forward with the local community having a strong role throughout the process,” added Matthew Marshall, Executive Director at 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.”