The U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory were in Eureka, California, Tuesday, with U.S. Representative Jared Huffman, California Energy Commissioner Karen Douglas, Tribal leaders and community officials to discuss offshore wind opportunities that will create jobs and strengthen the local economy.
Secretary Haaland and the group toured the Port of Humboldt Bay, the largest deepwater port between San Francisco and Coos Bay, Oregon, which is being upgraded and retrofitted to meet the anticipated needs of future floating offshore wind projects. The port sits next 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 Secretary 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 Chair 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, which is why it is so important to move forward with President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.”
According to DoI, 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 United States, will help attract the offshore wind supply chain, create good-paying jobs and attract economic development in the local area, the Department of Interior said in a statement.
The Biden-Harris administration has recently committed to developing 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030, which is expected to create an estimated 80,000 jobs.
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 square 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.