The North Coast is a potentially-ideal location for developing offshore wind energy technologies, for a number of reasons:
- The North Coast’s offshore wind energy generation potential is unparalleled in the United States. While this potential has long been known, recent advances in floating offshore wind foundations made the development of the local wind resource feasible — local water depths off our coastline are too deep for standard, fixed-bottom foundation offshore wind turbine installation, necessitating floating platform foundations.
- Humboldt Bay is also the only deep-water port in California north of San Francisco Bay, and has substantial (and underutilized) port facilities and infrastructure that could be adapted to support offshore wind energy development locally as well as along the west coast more broadly.
- Numerous U.S. Department of Energy projects and National Laboratory studies have featured the Humboldt Bay region in their analyses and assessments of offshore wind and wave energy potential, including the development of multiple reference models used to characterize the power performance, O&M, cost of energy, viability, and environmental effects of potential marine renewable energy projects. These past studies provide a valuable foundation for the planning and analysis required to evaluate and develop any potential project.
In alignment with its priories of developing local renewable resources as well as supporting energy-related local economic development, RCEA has begun actively exploring the potential to move forward with a local offshore wind energy project.
United States Annual Average Wind Speeds:
Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Responsible for issuing leases for offshore wind energy projects in federal waters, the mission of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is to manage development of U.S. Outer Continental Shelf energy and mineral resources in an environmentally and economically responsible way.
California Offshore Wind Energy Gateway
A joint project of BOEM, the CA Public Utilities Commission, and the CA Energy Commission, the Offshore Renewable Wind Energy Gateway assembles geospatial information on ocean wind resources, ecological and natural resources, ocean commercial and recreational uses and community values. This information will help identify areas off California that are potentially suitable for wind energy generation.
High Road for Deep Water: Policy Options for a California Offshore Wind Industry
by Robert Collier, Center for Labor Research and Education, University of California, Berkeley
Potential Offshore Wind Energy Areas in California: An Assessment of Locations, Technology, and Costs
By the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Department of the Navy California Offshore Wind Compatibility Assessment:
In anticipation of growing interest in developing wind energy projects offshore California, the Department of the Navy has conducted a mission compatibility assessment for the outer continental shelf. The compatibility assessment reflects the requirements of Navy and Marine Corps missions conducted in the air, on the surface, and below the surface of these waters.