Various companies, including Ørsted, Shell, Ocean Winds (EDP Renewables/ENGIE), Equinor, BP and Aker Offshore Wind are among the companies that responded to Bureau of Offshore Energy Management’s (BOEM) call for Information and Nominations for the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area. Other areas being developed are off of Humbolt and Diablo Canyon.
Auctions for the rights to develop the U.S. Pacific Coast with floating offshore wind stands to be "extremely competitive," according to Aker Offshore Wind's senior vice president of U.S. operations, Jonah Margulis. There has been a tremendous increase in number and scale of offshore floating wind projects where deep water wind fields are being developed.
The Humboldt Bay area can support around 150 MW of additional capacity without substantial grid upgrades, according to a report on the U.S. floating offshore wind market by the Global Wind Energy Council.
California Independent System Operator Duty
The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) is a non-profit Independent System Operator (ISO) serving California. It oversees the operation of California's bulk electric power system, transmission lines, and electricity market generated and transmitted by its member utilities. The primary stated mission of CAISO is to "operate the grid reliably and efficiently, provide fair and open transmission access, promote environmental stewardship, and facilitate effective markets and promote infrastructure development." When it comes to transmission planning, this California single grid operator will make the development of alternate energy more smooth.
The CAISO is one of the largest ISOs in the world, delivering 300 million megawatt-hours of electricity each year and managing about 80% of California's electric flow. It was created by the California legislature in 1998 in response to federal regulation Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recommendations following the passage of the federal Energy Policy Act of 1992, which removed barriers to competition in the wholesale generation of electricity business. FERC regulates CAISO because interstate transmission lines fall under the jurisdiction of federal commerce laws. In February, CAISO released its first-ever 20-year transmission outlook that factored in transmission support for 10 GW of offshore wind.
Many Renewable Energy Related Jobs
As previously noted, the construction of suitable port facilities is another area for job creation. There are currently no ports along the West Coast that are capable of supporting floating offshore wind activities, according to a recent report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. They will have to be built, along with the barges supporting the wind turbines.
Operation Money Grant Approved by California Energy Commission
In March, the California Energy Commission approved a $10.5 million grant for renovations at the Port of Humboldt Bay to support floating offshore wind activities. The grant will fund preliminary engineering and design work, conducting site surveys and special studies, preparing necessary environmental impact assessments, implementing early construction, and initiating environmental mitigation measures.
Floating offshore wind developers and suppliers will also have to comply with the Jones Act for vessel deployment. The industry has some advantages over fixed-bottom offshore wind, though, since floating offshore wind turbines and platforms are largely completed at port.
The firm of Hofmann & Schweitzer is standing by to assist any injured Jones Act seafarers as this exciting new technology is put in place. The same wind that will generate power for the mainland is one of the perils of the sea all seamen face. For our clients, if their employers don’t put safety first in light of those perils they can suffer catastrophic injuries. We will be there to help.
U.S. Flag Jones Act Vessel To Be Used To Assist In The Building and Servicing of the Offshore Wind Generation Facilities Off Of New York
In December 2021, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) agreed to use the U.S. flag Paul Candies, a Jones Act-compliant offshore IMR (inspection, maintenance and repair vessel) during the construction phase of the South Fork Wind project, offshore New York.
Hofmann & Schweitzer applauds the decision to fit the vessel with a "walk to work system" fitted to the vessel when it is to be put into service in around the third quarter of 2023, to support the hook-up and commissioning of turbines used during the construction of the South Fork, Revolution and Sunrise offshore wind farms.
That system is claimed to compensate for all six degrees of freedom in relation to the vessel and turbine. And it is claimed to provide safe and reliable offshore access between the vessel and turbine structure in sea states up to 4.5 meters. Along with providing safe access for personnel, the system will also be used to hoist cargo, equipment, and tools and the gangway’s fuel transfer capabilities will allow for the testing of the generators and turbines.
By converting the Paul Candies into a W2W vessel, says Ampelmann, the E1000 will enable the servicing of multiple turbines at once, greatly increasing the speed and efficiency of operations.