Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory were in Eureka, Calif., Tuesday with U.S. Representative Jared Huffman, California Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas, tribal leaders and community officials to discuss offshore wind opportunities.
Secretary Haaland and the group toured the Port of Humboldt Bay, Calif., the largest deepwater port between San Francisco and Coos Bay, Ore., which is being upgraded and retrofitted to meet anticipated needs of future floating offshore wind projects. The port is adjacent to an area under active evaluation by the Interior Department for future offshore wind leasing activity.
“Offshore wind will play a key role in transitioning to an equitable clean energy future. With rapid technological advances, falling costs and tremendous economic potential, offshore wind will be instrumental in the fight to combat climate change and create good-paying union jobs,” said Haaland. “Today’s visit offered a great opportunity to learn about the state’s leadership in investing in the offshore wind industry and the domestic supply chain, and the ongoing local collaboration and community partnership here in Humboldt County.”
“President Biden is taking bold action to build America’s clean energy future, and Secretary Haaland is leading the way forward on offshore wind,” said Mallory. “Groundbreaking renewable energy projects like those here in Humboldt County will not only power American homes with affordable energy, but will create good-paying union jobs. While this is a step in the right direction, there is still much more work to be done to tackle the climate crisis ... ”
The leaders discussed the needs of California’s offshore wind industry, planned port upgrades, workforce training and community and tribal engagement.
Open-air port terminal space and high lift capacities will be necessary for the staging, construction and deployment of floating offshore wind turbines off California’s north coast. Ports such as Humboldt Bay, and others throughout the U.S., will help attract the offshore wind supply chain, create good-paying jobs and attract economic development in the local area.
Tuesday’s event reflects the Biden administration’s commitment to develop 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030, which will create an estimated 80,000 jobs, DOI said. It also builds on the May 2021 agreement by the departments of the Interior, Defense and the state of California to accelerate wind energy offshore the central and northern coasts of California. It comes as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s recent report found that climate change is impacting the planet in unprecedented ways, with a call for urgent action across the globe.
In July 2021, DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the designation of the Humboldt Wind Energy Area (WEA), a nearly 132,369-acre (206-sq.-mile) area, and is now undertaking environmental analysis for future leasing and site assessment activities. BOEM is also moving forward with government-to-government tribal consultation.
The Humboldt WEA is approximately 275 miles north of San Francisco and begins at 21 miles offshore the city of Eureka, extending seaward out to 35 miles offshore. The WEA can support generation of 1.6 GW of offshore wind energy, enough to power more than 500,000 homes. Additional information on the Humboldt WEA can be found on BOEM's California Activities website.