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BOEM to call industry interest in two California Wind Energy Areas

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Today, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced it is set to publish a Call for Information and Nominations. Accordingly, this procedure will help solicit public input and determine industry interest in developing commercial wind projects; precisely, at two new areas offshore central California.

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Indeed, the new areas are adjacent to the Morro Bay Call Area, initially designated as such by BOEM in 2018. Similarly, they have been identified as the Morro Bay Call Area East Extensions and Morro Bay Call Area West Extension.

About the areas BOEM proposes

Accordingly, BOEM will include the extension areas in its overall analysis of the Morro Bay 399 Area. Indeed, this area already deployed advances for offshore wind development by the US government this May; particularly, together with the Humboldt Area.

Similarly, BOEM is also advancing with the federal leasing process for the Humboldt Area offshore northern California; which is now a designated Wind Energy Area (WEA). Moreover, the agency will now proceed with an environmental review for this area, as required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

In this sense, BOEM Acting Pacific Region Director Thomas Liu commented;“While we are still in the initial stages of BOEM’s leasing process, today’s announcement reflects years of working with ocean users. Also, with  Tribal governments and local, state, and federal agencies; particularly, to obtain the best available information to reduce potential conflicts. 

Therefore, “the Morro Bay Call and Humboldt Environmental Assessment offer important opportunities,” continued Liu. Mainly “to further solicit feedback from Tribes, ocean users and stakeholders.” 

Helping California’s net-zero targets

In addition to contributing to the goals of the Biden-Harris administration; the development of offshore wind energy can indeed help California reach its goal of 100& carbon-free energy by 2045. Similarly, it can support the creation of good-paying union jobs; and lastly, foster investments in coastal communities, BOEM stated in a press release on 28 July.

In fact, in 2018, the agency identified three offshore wind areas off California; specifically, with the federal and state authorities working since then to reach an agreement on the specific waters appropriate for leasing.

Other offshore wind power efforts

Worth noting, last year, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind Energy Technologies Office deployed two offshore wind research buoys; specifically at the Humboldt and Morro Bay areas. Noteworthy, this was part of the research funded by BOEM to gather data; mainly, to support decisions on potential leasing of offshore wind energy sites in these areas.

Similarly, in 2018, German offshore wind developer EnBW and Seattle-based Trident Winds formed a joint venture to develop a floating wind project in the Morro Bay area. The following year, the joint venture signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Monterey Bay Community Power for a future power purchase agreement (PPA) for the proposed 1 GW floating wind farm, called Castle Wind.

The waters off the coast of Humboldt County have also garnered interest from developers looking to build floating wind farms.

A consortium between Principle Power, Aker Solutions, H. T. Harvey & Associates, Herrera Environmental Consultants, and Ocean Winds North America, together with the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), is looking to build the 150 MW Redwood Coast floating wind farm more than 30 kilometers off the coast of Humboldt Bay.

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