Floating Wind Farm Could Be Coming to CA
EDP Renewables, working in conjunction with four other companies and a Northern California power provider, is moving to develop the first United States offshore wind farm to feature floating wind turbines.
This installation is part of the countrywide trend toward developing an offshore wind industry; development so far has remained primarily on the east coast.
California Offshore Wind Farm
The Redwood Coast Energy Authority, a local government authority that provides electricity to most of Humboldt County, solicited bids for an offshore wind project earlier this year, as the RCEA is trying to source power options more locally. Lori Biondini, director of business development for RCEA, noted that the wind power would help balance the amounts of solar energy consumed in the authority’s territory.
EDP Renewables and those others chosen for the project beat other contenders including Statoil, EDF, Trident Winds and North Coast Floating Wind.
Moving into May or June, RCEA is planning to submit an unsolicited lease application to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, according to Reuters. Otherwise, the authority is in talks with fishing industry and Department of Defense representatives about where to locate the wind farm.
Humboldt County, known for the having wind speeds of up to 10 meters per second, has previously been restricted from expanding further into offshore due to the depths of nearby waters; standard, fixed offshore wind turbines would not be able to operate.
The other downside is that floating wind turbines are costly, and have not been deployed on a great scale as a result.
Wind Farm Details
The Humboldt County wind farm is slated to generate between 100 and 150 MW, and is expected to be completed by 2024.
According to Reuters, those involved with the project include wind turbine maker Principle Power Inc., ecological consultants H.T. Harvey & Associates, environmental consulting firm Herrera Environmental Consultants Inc. and Aker Solutions.
The floating wind turbines will use Principle Power’s WindFloat technology, which dampens wave- and turbine-induced motion, allowing wind turbines to be sited in areas where water depth exceeds 130 feet.
“We believe this project can represent a game changer for the industry in the U.S.,” said Joao Metelo, Principle Power’s President and CEO. “The establishment of a public private partnership with a community-based energy provider like Redwood Coast Energy Authority 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.”