Northern California Port Seeks Offshore Wind Lease

The Port of Humboldt has proposed a plan to modernize its facilities to accommodate offshore wind energy production, hoping to stimulate the local economy and create sustainable jobs.

Read Time: 2 minutes

January 11, 2022, 12:00 PM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Offshore wind turbines at Barrow Offshore Wind off Walney Island in the Irish Sea

Andy Dingley, Papa Lima Whiskey 2 / Offshore wind turbines

While the East Coast has moved forward with testing and building out offshore wind energy infrastructure, California has lagged due to the Pacific's deep waters and local political challenges. Now, with the Biden administration pushing for more investment in offshore wind and Governor Newsom signing a bill calling for a statewide offshore wind plan, Emma Foehringer Merchant reports that boosters of Northern California's Port of Humboldt are hoping to attract federal investment for what could be a lucrative industry.

While the port has many characteristics that make it a promising location for a wind energy hub, a federal contract will still require the construction of additional facilities to accommodate production, assembly, and transportation of turbines and associated equipment. To achieve this, the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District has developed a two-phase plan to renovate the port into a modern terminal capable of supporting wind infrastructure. "Most essential to the plan is a 'heavy-lift terminal,' basically a huge dock that can support the weight and size of different wind turbine components, including blades longer than a football field and towers nearly as tall as the Washington Monument."

Meanwhile, environmentalists express concerns about how wind turbines may affect local marine life and the environment, while other locals worry about the costs of yet another extractive industry in a region formerly ruled by lumber mills. Local officials express optimism that the industry will bring sustainable jobs and a clean source of energy to the region.

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