California offshore wind farms will create massive new economic development at ports

By Stas Margaronis.

The State of California proposes to build 25 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2045 requiring nearly 1,700 new wind turbines, built at a rate of 92 floating turbines per year, and the Humboldt Bay Harbor District in Northern California wants to be the manufacturing center.

The U.S. government has auctioned off Pacific coast offshore sites for wind development: one off Humboldt Bay, California, and the other off Morro Bay in Central California. As the Pacific Ocean seabed is much steeper than on the Atlantic coast, wind turbines will need to float in up to over 2,000 feet of water and will be located nearly 25 miles off the California coast.

Two lease sites for the development of wind farms off the Humboldt Bay, went for a total $331.5 million in a December U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management auction. The top winning bidders were RWE Offshore Wind Holdings at $157.7 million for 63,338 acres and California North Floating, LLC at $173.8 million for 69,031 acres, according to the U.S. Interior Department.

In a presentation to the Pacific Coast Congress of Harbor Masters at Eureka, California on April 13th, Rob Holmlund, Director of Development, Humboldt Bay Harbor District, explained the scope of work and his port’s qualifications for the undertaking: “It’s only the Ports of Humboldt Bay and Long Beach that can do this because you have to have the right channel width, channel depth, you can’t have any bridges or airports, and you need big development areas.”

Port of Long Beach Challenge

The Port of Long Beach is proposing a 400-acre state-of-the-art wind turbine manufacturing facility producing floating wind turbines for new California wind farms, according to the Port’s Executive Director Mario Cordero.