Oregon’s loss could turn into California’s gain as Principle Power Inc., the lead on a stalled Oregon offshore wind project, has entered into an agreement with a wholesale power company to install a 150-MW public-private project off the Humboldt County coastline in Northern California.
A consortium of companies including Principle Power, EDPR Offshore North America, Ake Solutions Inc., H.T. Harvey & Associates and Herrera Environmental Consultants will bring the 12- to 17-turbine floating-wind project to California under an agreement with the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), which will buy the power. The project will be located about 20 miles off the coast of Eureka.
“We are in a position to buy the power that would be generated by the project,” says Lori Biondini, RCEA spokeswoman, “which we see as a benefit to our community.”
Principle Power had previously tried to get the project developed in Coos Bay, Ore., but was never able to get a buyer for its power. In 2013, Principle Power received a Dept. of Energy grant to support the project, but abandoned it in 2016.
Biondini says after the consortium finalizes the partnership, it will prepare a lease application to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, to be submitted this summer. The project is expected to become operational by 2025.
Joao Metelo, Principle’s president and CEO, says having RCEA on board from the start gives the project a “strong foundation” to build a launching pad for a successful offshore industry on the West Coast.
Jason Busch, board member of the Pacific Ocean Energy Trust, says Oregon wasn’t ready for the cutting-edge project.
While southern Oregon remains ideal for offshore energy, he says, the timing and location of the California project were a better fit. Busch says both regions have enough potential in offshore energy—including wave energy—to create a thriving market.