Crowley Maritime Corp. has signed an agreement with the Port of Humboldt Bay for the development and operation of a terminal to serve as California’s first hub for offshore wind energy installations, Crowley revealed Oct. 27.
Through Crowley’s Wind Services group, the company has entered into negotiations with the port to lease and serve as the port’s developer of the Humboldt Bay Offshore Wind Heavy Lift Marine Terminal.
Services there would support tenants in the manufacturing, installation and operation of offshore wind floating platforms, along with providing crewing and marshalling services in Pacific waters.
“Clean, renewable energy for Californians took a step forward through our partnership with the leaders of the Port of Humboldt Bay,” Bob Karl, Crowley’s senior vice president and general manager of wind services, said. “Crowley looks forward to working together with the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District to formalize a lease and development plan.”
The public-private partnership will support both federal and state government goals to develop more American offshore wind power and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Karl continued.
The U.S. Department of Interior announced on Oct. 18 that waters off the coast of Humboldt Bay would be part of the first-ever offshore wind lease sale on the U.S. West Coast, set to take place Dec. 6. The state of California has set a goal to create at least 5 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030.
The Humboldt offshore wind areas alone are projected to provide 1.6 GW of energy, capable of supplying power to up 1.6 million homes. The federal lease auction also will include the Morro Bay area, projected to offer 3 GW of projected energy.
Utilizing a grant from the Humboldt County Headwaters Fund in 2021, the Port of Humboldt Bay developed a conceptual master plan for the site. It led to a $10.45 million grant from the California Energy Commission to conduct of technical studies, preliminary design and pre-permitting activities.
The port said that it anticipates completing permitting and design in mid-2024. The new agreement with Crowley focuses on the 98-acre Phase I, with options to expand on adjoining land in additional phases.
“This is a historic and transformational moment in the history of Humboldt County and the state of California,” Port Board President Greg Dale said. “Guided by the support and expertise of Crowley, the Port of Humboldt Bay now stands to be an international leader in the transition to renewable energy.”
“Within the next few years, this project will generate high-skill manufacturing and technical jobs, investments and clean energy that will extend for generations into the future,” he added. “And this project is just the beginning for Humboldt Bay, with the potential for additional complementary projects on other underutilized sites throughout the bay.”
This project marks Crowley’s second dedicated U.S. wind service terminal project. Design and engineering are underway in Salem, Mass. for the Crowley terminal as part of a public-private partnership that would support offshore wind projects in New England.