The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (“RCEA”) has selected a consortium of companies comprised of Principle Power Inc., EDPR Offshore North America LLC, Aker Solutions Inc., H. T. Harvey & Associates, and Herrera Environmental Consultants Inc. to enter into a public-private partnership to pursue the development of an offshore wind energy project off the Northern California coast. The consortium was one of the six respondents to the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) issued by the RCEA on February 1st, 2018.
“We have been very impressed and humbled by the respondents and the quality of the responses we received for this RFQ. Large development companies and energy players based in Europe and the US responded to the RFQ which helps confirm the attractiveness of Humboldt County as the potential starting point for an entire new industry,” said Matthew Marshall, Executive Director of the RCEA.
The consortium is excited with the opportunity presented by RCEA and pleased to bring proven technology, development expertise, and financial capabilities to the partnership, which will work toward a flagship project for the floating offshore wind industry in California and the US in general.
“We believe this project can represent a game changer for the industry in the US. 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” said Joao Metelo, Principle Power’s President and CEO.
“This project is strategic in the long-run and attractive to us due to its potential to spur large market development in California,” said João Manso Neto, EDP Renewables CEO. “EDP Renewables is confident in the viability of the offshore wind market and looks forward to continuing development on this project with the ultimate goal of further increasing our operational presence in the United States.”
“We are excited to be part of this first commercial scale project for floating offshore wind in the United States. 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,” said Jonah Margulis, Vice President and U.S. Country Manager at Aker Solutions.
Quickly establishing an offshore wind energy industry in California
Humboldt County has natural enabling advantages that make it a prospective stepping stone for the offshore wind energy industry on the West Coast of the US. The wind resource off the Humboldt County coast is the best off California with average wind speeds of more than ten meters per second, inducing expected high capacity performance from wind farms.
The proposed project is a 100-150 megawatts floating offshore wind farm planned to be located more than 20 miles off the coast of Eureka. The project will pave the way for offshore wind energy off the West Coast and may be the first project to unlock the extraordinary value of offshore wind energy for California.
The selected consortium features significant offshore wind lease application and permitting experience, a mature, cost-competitive and suitable floating wind technology for Humboldt County’s unique geography (Principle Power
Inc’s WindFloat technology), and a highly-capable team with the needed capacity to develop, finance, operate and build a supply chain to support this and future projects. RCEA and the selected consortium will be negotiating and finalizing a partnership agreement in the coming weeks, working toward the goal of submitting a lease application later this spring.
A project that will be led by the local community
Humboldt County is marked by a strong ecosystem of local energy, environmental, and economic professionals who played a crucial role in the 15-member RFQ review committee along with local officials and public agencies. Input and guidance from local stakeholders will be critically important to the project and the overall development of the industry in California. With RCEA leading, the project partners will continue proactive community and stakeholder outreach to understand and address all the facets of developing a project of this kind to minimize any potential impacts and maximize local community benefits.
The project is expected to drive investment in local infrastructure at the Port of Humboldt Bay and other nearby onshore facilities. A strong collaboration with local stakeholders to identify and address needed infrastructure improvements will be led by the project partners. The upcoming offshore wind industry will also require skilled labor and create local jobs and workforce training, thus advantageously positioning Humboldt County as a leading hub for future offshore wind development throughout the West Coast.