The Port of Long Beach in May released plans for an ambitious facility conceived to help California and the U.S. reach renewable energy targets in the coming decades.
The proposed floating offshore wind facility – known as Pier Wind – would support the manufacture and assembly of offshore wind turbines standing as tall as the Eiffel Tower, according to port officials, who add that it would be the largest facility at any U.S. seaport specifically designed to accommodate the assembly of offshore wind turbines.
“Imagine fully assembled wind turbines capable of generating 20 megawatts of energy towed by sea from the Port of Long Beach to offshore wind farms in Central and Northern California,” POLB Executive Director Mario Cordero said.
“As society transitions to clean energy, our harbor is ideally located for such an enterprise – with calm seas behind a federal breakwater, one of the deepest and widest channels in the U.S., direct access to the open ocean and no air height restrictions,” Cordero added. “No other location has the space to achieve the economies of scale needed to drive down the cost of energy for these huge turbines.”
In a statement, Long Beach Harbor Commission President Sharon Weissman said building Pier Wind would lay the foundation for a zero carbon energy future.
“Offshore wind is essential to the Port of Long Beach’s own goals to transition to zero emissions, and ensuring there is a ready supply of reliable, resilient, and renewable power is vital for the work we do moving commerce,” she explained.
According to the port, the Pier Wind project would help California harness wind in deep waters in order to generate renewable energy while also enhancing air quality by reducing reliance on fossil fuels. It would also meet the state’s goal of producing 25 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2045, plus contribute toward lowering the national cost of offshore wind power by 70% by 2035.
Upon full build-out, the $4.7 billion facility would span up to 400 acres of newly built land located southwest of the Long Beach International Gateway Bridge within the port’s Harbor District.
Port officials have also said that Pier Wind would also create new jobs and career opportunities for the communities closest to the POLB that have been disproportionately impacted by climate change and port operations.
“Community members would participate and benefit as California transitions away from fossil fuels and into a green economy,” the port said in a statement.
Construction could potentially start in January 2027, according to the port, with the first 100 acres operational in early 2031, the second 100 acres operational in late 2031 and the last 200 acres coming online in 2035.