Tuesday, May 25, 2021

California to Advance Offshore Wind Development Off Humboldt

Posted By on Tue, May 25, 2021 at 5:16 PM

click to enlarge A 2018 illustration of a spar-buoy floating turbine, one of three potential designs being considered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. - COURTESY OF STATOIL
  • Courtesy of Statoil
  • A 2018 illustration of a spar-buoy floating turbine, one of three potential designs being considered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
An agreement between California and federal partners will advance the state's creation of offshore wind energy developments thus advancing the state's clean energy goals and economic growth.

Gov. Gavin Newsom joined Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy  Colin Kahl to announce an agreement that would allow for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to offer a lease sale as early as 2022 within a 399-square-mile area of the Central Coast northwest of Morro Bay and a separate area on the North Coast for floating offshore wind platforms located 20 to 30 miles off the California coast.

The offshore wind energy development is expected to bring in up to 4.6 gigawatts of clean energy to the grid over the next decade, enough to power 1.6 million homes.

Offshore wind energy on the North Coast has been a topic of discussion for the past few years. In 2018, the Redwood Redwood Coast Energy Authority had considered offshore wind energy as a potential source of renewable energy and, in 2019, state Sen. Mike McGuire held four town halls about the prospect of offshore wind farms on the North Coast.

“Developing offshore wind to produce clean, renewable energy could be a game-changer to achieving California’s clean energy goals and addressing climate change — all while bolstering the economy and creating new jobs,”  Newsom said in a news release. “This historic announcement, which could provide clean power for up to 1.6 million homes over the next decade, represents the innovative approach we need for a clean energy economy that protects the coasts, fisheries, marine life and Tribal and cultural resources we value so much as Californians.”

Newsom has proposed $20 million in funding to support California’s offshore wind capacity under the California Comeback Plan, including $11 million to support the Port of Humboldt to apply for federal funding for upgrades that will enable it to support offshore wind deployment, $6.5 million supporting staff at the California Coastal Commission and California Department of Fish and Wildlife for accelerated environmental review and front-loaded environmental analysis where feasible, $2.1 million for environmental studies on offshore wind impacts, $1.5 million for an engineering and design-build study for a North Coast offshore wind project and $700,000 for outreach to ports, Tribes, labor, coastal communities and more.

The release states that the state is "committed to moving forward with offshore wind development in a manner that protects fisheries resources, marine life and tribal and cultural resources, while providing significant regional and statewide economic benefits."

“I believe that a clean energy future is within our grasp in the United States, but it will take all of us and the best-available science to make it happen. Today’s announcement reflects months of active engagement and dedication between partners who are committed to advancing a clean energy future,” said Haaland.

Read the full press release below.

California Announces Historic Agreement with Federal Partners to Advance Offshore Wind Development

Agreement opens up the West Coast for offshore wind development for the first time in history, advances California’s clean energy goals and represents new opportunities for job creation

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today joined Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl to announce an agreement that opens up the West Coast for offshore wind development for the first time in history, a promising development that could help achieve the state’s clean energy goals, bolster renewable energy sources and create new jobs and investments in California.

“Developing offshore wind to produce clean, renewable energy could be a game changer to achieving California’s clean energy goals and addressing climate change – all while bolstering the economy and creating new jobs,” said Governor Newsom. “This historic announcement, which could provide clean power for up to 1.6 million homes over the next decade, represents the innovative approach we need for a clean energy economy that protects the coasts, fisheries, marine life and Tribal and cultural resources we value so much as Californians.”

Initial areas identified for offshore wind development could bring up to 4.6 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy to the grid over the next decade, enough to power 1.6 million homes.

As part of the agreement, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) plans to offer a lease sale as early as 2022 within a 399-square-mile area of the Central Coast northwest of Morro Bay and a separate area on the North Coast. The areas were identified cooperatively by the Departments of the Interior and Defense and the State of California.

“I believe that a clean energy future is within our grasp in the United States, but it will take all of us and the best-available science to make it happen. Today’s announcement reflects months of active engagement and dedication between partners who are committed to advancing a clean energy future,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “The offshore wind industry has the potential to create tens of thousands of good-paying union jobs across the nation, while combating the negative effects of climate change. Interior is proud to be part of an all-of-government approach toward the Biden-Harris administration's ambitious renewable energy goals.”

Under the terms of the agreement, efforts will focus on the use of floating offshore wind platforms with over 95 percent of the proposed lease sale area located 20 to 30 miles off the California Coast. In addition, California is committed to moving forward with offshore wind development in a manner that protects fisheries resources, marine life and tribal and cultural resources, while providing significant regional and statewide economic benefits.

As part of the California Comeback Plan, Governor Newsom has proposed $20 million in funding to support California’s offshore wind capacity, including:

·        $11 million to support the Port of Humboldt to apply for federal funding for upgrades that will enable it to support offshore wind deployment.

·        $6.5 million supporting staff at the California Coastal Commission and California Department of Fish and Wildlife for accelerated environmental review and front-loaded environmental analysis where feasible. $2.1 million for environmental studies on offshore wind impacts.

·        $1.5 million for an engineering and design-build study for a North Coast offshore wind project, to maximize its value in providing regional decarbonization and resilience.

·        $700,000 for outreach to ports, Tribes, labor, coastal communities and more.

BOEM, in partnership with California, will hold an Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force meeting on June 24 to discuss the identified areas off the north and central coasts as potential wind energy areas. Following the task force meeting, the areas can be finalized and undergo environmental analysis.

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Iridian Casarez

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Iridian Casarez is a staff writer at the North Coast Journal.

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