Wednesday, May 26, 2021

RCEA Applauds North Coast, Federal Offshore Wind Development Agreement

Posted By on Wed, May 26, 2021 at 4:57 PM

click to enlarge 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
  • Illustration of a spar-buoy floating turbine, one of three potential designs being considered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Redwood Coast Offshore Wind, a partnership between Redwood Energy Authority and Ocean Winds and Aker Offshore Wind, is applauding the agreement between California and federal officials that will advance the state's development of offshore wind energy generators, including at a potential site off Humboldt Bay.

“We are committed to proactively addressing climate change while ensuring that our coastal environment is protected for habitat values as well as economic benefits of commercial and recreational fisheries. We are taking a community-based approach to developing Humboldt County’s offshore wind resource which prioritizes community values and perspectives of local Tribes, protecting the environment, developing strategies to avoid or mitigate impacts to fisheries and fishermen, and developing sustainable family-wage jobs” said RCEA Executive Director Matthew Marshall in a press release.

Redwood Coast Offshore Wind has been pushing for offshore wind energy generators since it was formed in early 2018.

The release also states that in 2018 RCEA entered a memorandum of understanding with the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association in which they agree to work together to identify, avoid, minimize and mitigate offshore wind impacts to the commercial fishing industry.

"Humboldt Bay is a deep draft port with under-utilized coastal dependent industrial lands that could be revitalized and upgraded for staging floating offshore wind projects. Developing a purpose-built port facility for the staging, construction, long-term operations and maintenance of offshore wind projects will position Humboldt County to maximize local economic and job creation benefits associated with offshore wind,” said Larry Oetker, Executive Director of the Humboldt Bay Harbor and Recreation District.

Read the full press release below.

Redwood Coast Offshore Wind
The Biden Administration announces Wind Energy Areas off the coast of Humboldt County as a prelude to a federal lease auction in 2022

EUREKA CA – May 26, 2021. Redwood Coast Offshore Wind (Redwood), a joint venture of Ocean Winds and Aker Offshore Wind in partnership with Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) and Principle Power, applauds today’s announcement by federal and California officials that begins the process of developing up to 4.6 gigawatts of offshore wind energy generation off the California coast. Redwood is focused on a pioneering North Coast project that will utilize floating wind technology.

Today’s announcement is the beginning of an energy revolution for California and the West and offshore wind will be a critical tool in combatting climate change while creating skilled jobs and driving economic development up and down the California coast.

The Biden Administration along with the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, California Governor Gavin Newsom, and Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl jointly announced the creation of Wind Energy Areas off Humboldt County on the North Coast and Morro Bay on the Central Coast as a prelude to holding a federal lease auction in mid-2022.

Redwood has been pressing for such an auction since it was formed in early 2018 when the team of Ocean Winds, Aker, and Principle Power was selected by RCEA to enter a public-private partnership to unlock the value of Humboldt County's offshore wind resource.

Redwood expresses particular appreciation to those California officials who worked with the federal administration to identify sea space for offshore wind development so that California can contribute towards President Biden’s stated goal of developing 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy in the United States by 2030.

“We are committed to proactively addressing climate change while ensuring that our coastal environment is protected for habitat values as well as economic benefits of commercial and recreational fisheries. We are taking a community-based approach to developing Humboldt County’s offshore wind resource which prioritizes community values and perspectives of local Tribes, protecting the environment, developing strategies to avoid or mitigate impacts to fisheries and fishermen, and developing sustainable family-wage jobs” said RCEA Executive Director Matthew Marshall.

In 2018, RCEA entered a Memorandum of Understanding with the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association agreeing to work together to effectively identify, avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts to the commercial fishing industry to the greatest extent possible. Since entering the MOU, RCEA and the project have continued to engage with HFMA with the intent to enter an agreement that further solidifies the commitments outlined in the 2018 agreement.

Humboldt Bay is a deep draft port with under-utilized Coastal Dependent Industrial lands that could be revitalized and upgraded for staging floating offshore wind projects. Developing a purpose-built port facility for the staging, construction, long-term operations and maintenance of offshore wind projects will position Humboldt County to maximize local economic and job creation benefits associated with offshore wind,” said Larry Oetker, Executive Director of the Humboldt Bay Harbor and Recreation District.

Offshore wind also presents great potential for high-wage, union jobs associated with building, installing and maintaining facilities. In fact, the offshore wind industry is working hand in hand with State Building and Construction Trade Council of California’s decision to push Assemblymember David Chiu’s (D-San Francisco) offshore wind planning bill, AB525, which is currently before the California Legislature.

The Redwood Coast Energy Authority 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 RCEA is to develop and implement sustainable energy initiatives that reduce energy demand, increase energy efficiency, and advance the use of clean, efficient and renewable resources available in the region for the benefit of the Member agencies and their constituents.

Aker Offshore Wind is an offshore wind developer striving to create a sustainable future – one driven by clean, green energy. We aim to drive the industrialization of deepwater and floating offshore wind and take early mover positions in the development of large-scale deepwater wind farms across the globe. We have resources at our disposal to become a leading deepwater independent power producer, including five decades worth of offshore expertise, industry-leading technology and powerful alliances.

Ocean Winds is an offshore wind developer and the result of a joint venture of EDP Renewables and ENGIE. Both companies share the vision in which renewables, particularly offshore wind, play a key role in the global energy transition. Ocean Winds is a global leader in floating offshore wind and developed the pioneering 25 MW WindFloat Atlantic Project off Portugal which began operation in 2020.With 1.5 GW under construction and 4.0 GW under development, Ocean Winds’ mission is to make offshore wind one of the main sources of renewable energy by delivering more efficient and sustainable wind energy solutions.



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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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