(EUREKA, Calif.) — Crowley signed an agreement Thursday with the Port of Humboldt Bay to exclusively negotiate to be the developer and operator of a terminal to serve as California’s first hub for offshore wind energy installations.
Through Crowley’s Wind Services group, the company will enter into negotiations with the port to lease and serve as the port’s developer of the Humboldt Bay Offshore Wind Heavy Lift Marine Terminal. The services provided will support tenants in the manufacturing, installation and operation of offshore wind floating platforms, use of large heavy cargo vessels and providing crewing and marshaling services in the Pacific waters.
“Clean, renewable energy for Californians took a step forward through our partnership with the leaders of the Port of Humboldt Bay. Crowley looks forward to working together with the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District to formalize a lease and development plan,” said Bob Karl, senior vice president and general manager, Crowley Wind Services. “Through our collaboration, we can reach our shared commitment for sustainable development that gives the state and the nation a new source of energy that respects the environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.”
This public-private partnership will support both federal and state government goals to develop more American offshore wind power and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. Department of Interior announced on Oct. 18 that waters off the coast of Humboldt Bay areas will be part of the first-ever offshore wind lease sale on the U.S. West Coast on Dec. 6.
The state of California has set a goal to create at least 5 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030. The Humboldt offshore wind areas alone are projected to provide 1.6 GW of energy, capable of supply power to up to 1.6 million homes. The federal lease auction also will include the Morro Bay area, which offers 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. That 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 anticipates completing permitting and design in mid-2024. The new agreement with Crowley focuses on a 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,” said President Greg Dale of the Board of the Port of Humboldt Bay. “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. The port will play a critical role not only in the Humboldt and Morro Bay call areas, but in all future offshore wind areas of the U.S. West Coast.
“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. And this project is just the beginning for Humboldt Bay, with the potential for additional complementary projects on other underutilized sites throughout the Bay,” he continued.
Humboldt Bay will mark 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 will support offshore wind projects in New England.