Plans are taking shape for a West Coast wind port to serve as California’s first hub for offshore wind energy installations.
Jacksonville, Florida-based Crowley has signed an agreement with the Port of Humboldt Bay to exclusively negotiate to be the developer and operator of the terminal in Northern California.
Through Crowley’s Wind Services group, the company will enter into negotiations with the port to lease and serve as the port’s developer of the Humboldt Bay Offshore Wind Heavy Lift Marine Terminal, to be located in the town of Samoa in Humboldt County. The terminal will support tenants in the manufacturing, installation and operation of floating offshore wind platforms, use of large heavy cargo vessels and providing crewing and marshaling services in the Pacific waters.
The public-private partnership will support both federal and state government goals to develop more American offshore wind power, and follows the U.S. Department of Interior’s announcement this month that waters off the coast of Humboldt Bay areas will be part of the first-ever offshore wind lease sale on the U.S. West Coast planned in December.
“Clean, renewable energy for Californians took a step forward through our partnership with the leaders of the Port of Humboldt Bay. Crowley looks forward to working together with the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District to formalize a lease and development plan,” said Bob Karl, senior vice president and general manager, wind services. “Through our collaboration, we can reach our shared commitment for sustainable development that gives the state and the nation a new source of energy that respects the environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.”
The State of California has set a goal to create at least 5 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030. The Humbold offshore wind areas alone are projected to provide 1.6 GW of energy, capable of supply power to up to 1.6 million homes. The federal lease auction also will include the Morro Bay area, to the south, which offers 3 GW of projected energy.
he Port of Humboldt Bay has developed a conceptual master plan for the site thanks to a grant from the Humboldt County Headwaters Fund in 2021. That led to a $10.45 million grant from the California Energy Commission, to conduct of technical studies, preliminary design and pre-permitting activities. The Port anticipates completing permitting and design in mid-2024.
The new agreement with Crowley focuses on a 98-acre Phase I, with options to expand on adjoining land in additional phases.
“This is a historic and transformational moment in the history of Humboldt County and the State of California,” said President Greg Dale of the Board of the Port of Humboldt Bay. “Guided by the support and expertise of Crowley, the Port of Humboldt Bay now stands to be an international leader in the transition to renewable energy. The Port will play a critical role not only in the Humboldt and Morro Bay Call Areas, but in all future offshore wind areas of the U.S. West Coast.
“Within the next few years, this project will generate high-skill manufacturing and technical jobs, investments, and clean energy that will extend for generations into the future. And this project is just the beginning for Humboldt Bay, with the potential for additional complementary projects on other underutilized sites throughout the Bay.”
Humboldt Bay will mark Crowley’s second dedicated U.S. wind service terminal project following a project in in Salem, Massachusetts, which is currently in the design and engineering phase. For that project, Crowley recently received a $33.8 million Port Infrastructure Development Program grant from the Maritime Administration to support the redevelopment of the site.
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