Photo: Nicholas Doherty via Unsplash.


Dozens of Humboldt County officials and local stakeholders are headed to the East Coast next week for a firsthand look at Vineyard Wind 1, the first commercial-scale offshore wind farm in the United States. The trip will give local leaders a chance to meet with the whole Vineyard Offshore team and learn more about some of the challenges associated with offshore wind development – as well as some of the perks – from communities that have already gone through the planning process.

Map of Vineyard Wind 1. Image: Vineyard Offshore (Click to Enlarge)

The project, located about 35 miles off the coast of mainland Massachusetts, is well underway. Earlier this year, the developers, who are planning to build a floating offshore wind farm here on the North Coast, completed the first phase of Vineyard Wind 1 following the installation of five fixed-bottom turbines – each capable of generating 13 megawatts of electricity. The turbines are operating at full capacity and generating enough energy to power 30,000 homes, according to a press release from Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey’s office. 

Reached for additional information about the upcoming excursion, county spokesperson Catarina Gallardo said around 30 local “offshore wind delegates” are expected to go on the trip, including Supervisor Natalie Arroyo and Michelle Bushnell, County Administrative Officer Elishia Hayes, Economic Development Director Scott Adair, members of the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District and city representatives from Arcata, Eureka and Fortuna, among others. Staff from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development will also be in attendance. A complete list of the offshore wind delegation can be found here.

“The purpose of this trip is to gain a real-life practical view and understanding of offshore wind development in Massachusetts so local leaders will have the opportunity to make more informed decisions in Humboldt County regarding offshore wind,” Gallardo told the Outpost. “It is crucial for the county to understand offshore wind processes in other communities to evaluate their applicability in our own community.”

The delegation will also have an opportunity to “hear actionable advice and strategies that could be adapted for local implementation and solicit feedback on what more experienced communities would do differently if given the chance,” she added.

The county secured a $1.5 million Federal Workforce Information Opportunity Act grant through the California Employment Development Department to send staff on the trip. The grant funds will also cover an upcoming trip to Hull, England where delegates will attend the Offshore Wind Connections 2024 Annual Conference. [CORRECTION: Although the grant award covers international travel, the delegation will not travel to England this year, Gallardo told the Outpost in a follow-up statement.]

When the delegation returns, they’ll work with county staff to produce a detailed report summarizing their trip that will be presented to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors.