California Chooses Floating Offshore Wind Technology

Published Apr 4, 2018 6:54 PM by The Maritime Executive

California's Redwood Coast Energy Authority has selected a floating offshore wind solution for a project of the Northern California Coast.

A consortium consisting of Principle Power, EDPR Offshore North America, Aker Solutions, H. T. Harvey & Associates and Herrera Environmental Consultants was one of six respondents to the Request for Qualifications issued on February 1, 2018. They beat other contenders including Statoil, EDF, Trident Winds and North Coast Floating Wind.

The wind farm will be the first commercial-scale project for floating offshore wind in the U.S. and is expected to be operational by 2024. The proposed project calls for a 100-150 megawatts floating offshore wind farm located more than 20 miles off the coast of Eureka. The wind resource in the area are the best off California with average wind speeds of more than ten meters per second. 

The technology employed will be Principle Power’s WindFloat technology. The WindFloat foundation technology dampens wave and turbine induced motion, enabling wind turbines to be sited in previously inaccessible locations where water depth exceeds 40 meters (130 feet).

Along the West Coast of the U.S., waters reach impressive depths close to shore, demand for renewable energy is increasing and the winds are generally strong and consistent, says Principle Power. The United States’ National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) estimates that over 800 GW of energy potential is available to floating offshore wind technologies off the West Coast. 

“We believe this project can represent a game changer for the industry in the U.S.,” said Joao Metelo, Principle Power’s President and CEO. “The establishment of a public private partnership with a community-based energy provider like Redwood Coast Energy Authority represents a unique opportunity to develop a project with strong foundations from the get-go, and to build a comprehensive launching pad for a successful industry in the West Coast.”