Illustrations via Harbor District. Click to enlarge.

Well, this is happening pretty quickly.

This morning, the Humboldt Bay Harbor District has announced a partnership with a private company — Crowley Wind Services — to build a full-service facility to support offshore wind development all along the West Coast.

The development would happen at the district’s Marine Terminal II — a.k.a., the old pulp mill property in Samoa, which it acquired in 2013 — and would be located next to the planned Nordic Aquafarms onshore Atlantic salmon factory.

The new facility — which would become the second-largest wind terminal in the United States, according to the Harbor District — would be able to manufacture and ship the platforms and wind turbines that are currently being planned for the waters off Humboldt County and Morro Bay. 

Those “lease areas” — areas of the ocean where the windmills will someday be placed — are scheduled to be auctioned off by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Dec. 6.

But local business-watchers have long hoped that Humboldt Bay could serve as a “hub” for the development all along the length of the West Coast, having both a first-to-market advantage (with the first lease areas on the Pacific Coast) and also several geographic advantages — i.e., a protected bay unencumbered by bridges over the harbor entrance, as well as a great deal of available industrial land along the shore.

The Harbor District says it is holding a “celebration” tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. on Woodley Island to further spell out the details of the deal with Crowley Wind Services.

Announcement from the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District:

Tomorrow at 1:30 PM, the Humboldt Bay Harbor District will be hosting a ceremony celebrating a new partnership that will accelerate the Humboldt Offshore Wind Port project. See attached for more information. Please join us for a Celebration of Partnership as outlined below:

  • Date/Time: Thursday, October 27 at 1:30 PM
  • Location: Woodley Island, Eureka (601 Startare Drive); at the Fisherman’s Statue Parking Lot at the far west end of the island
  • Topic: Announcement Regarding new Partnership for the Humboldt Bay Offshore Wind and Heavy Lift Marine Terminal
  • Tentative Speakers:

    • Greg Dale, President of the Board, Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District

    • Tentative – Ted Hernandez, Tribal Chair, Wiyot Tribe

    • Jeff Andreini, Vice President, Crowley Wind Services

    • Virginia Bass, Chair of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors

    • US Congressman Jared Huffman
  • Details: Through Crowley’s Wind Services group, the company will serve as the port’s developer of the Humboldt Bay Offshore Wind Heavy Lift Marine Terminal. Services there will support tenants in the manufacturing, installation and operation of offshore wind floating platforms, use of large heavy cargo vessels and providing crewing and marshalling services in the Pacific waters. The terminal would be second largest wind terminal in the U.S. at this time.
  • Summary of the Economic Impact Study:

    • 4,257 jobs in Humboldt County

      • Stage 1 830 jobs

      • Stage 2 3,426 jobs

    • $279 million in labor income in Humboldt County

    • $38 million in state and local tax revenues

    • Total industry output

      • Stage 1 would generate $136 million in Humboldt County or $178 Million across California

      • Stage 2 would generate $481 million in Humboldt County or $633 Million across California

  • Background: The Humboldt Bay Harbor District has been conducting strategic planning since 2019 to establish a world-class marine terminal to service the offshore wind industry at a 180-acre site on the Samoa Peninsula. Utilizing a grant from the Humboldt County Headwaters Fund in 2021, the District developed a conceptual Master Plan for the site. That led to a $10.45M grant from the California Energy Commission, which the Port has utilized to conduct a range of technical studies, preliminary design, and pre-permitting activities. The District anticipates completing permitting and design in mid-2024. Humboldt Bay offers advantages for offshore wind because its location and size allows it to serve as a manufacturing, fabrication, construction and assembly, staging and tow-out hub. It is close to the ocean and provides a shipping channel clear of bridges or other airspace obstructions while minimizing environmental and wildlife impacts. Because of these advantages, the Bay has drawn the attention of many Federal and State agencies as well as a suite of international energy development firms. The Humboldt Wind Port project is now transitioning to the next stage as the District plans to sign a lease with a premier marine terminal development firm. The agreement focuses on an 86-acre Phase I, with the potential to expand to additional Phases. This partnership and project will generate high-skill manufacturing and technical jobs, investments, and clean energy that will extend for generations into the future. On 10/27/22 at 1:30 PM, the District will host a Celebration of Partnership with several dignitaries as guest speakers.