The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed its environmental review of potential impacts from offshore wind energy leasing activities in the Humboldt Wind Energy Area (WEA) off California.
BOEM said that the environmental review was conducted as a part of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 and to assess potential impacts from offshore wind energy leasing activities in the Humboldt Wind Energy Area (WEA), some 20 miles offshore northern California. According to the Bureau’s analysis, it found no significant impact.
“The completion of this Environmental Assessment represents an important step forward for ensuring that any future renewable energy development – should a lease sale occur — is done responsibly,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton.
“Working closely with Tribes, state and federal partners, and key stakeholders, BOEM remains focused on ensuring that such development is done in a way that avoids or reduces potential impacts to the environment and other ocean users in the region,” added Lefton.
BOEM’s Environmental Assessment considers potential impacts from the issuance of leases within the WEA that comprises nearly 132,369 acres off the coast of Humboldt County, California. The Humboldt WEA, if developed, could bring up to 1.6 GW of clean energy to the grid, enough to power approximately 560,000 homes.
The environmental assessment considers potential environmental consequences of site characterization activities – like biological, archeological, geological, and geophysical surveys and core samples – and site assessment activities such as the installation of meteorological buoys.
The environmental assessment also considers project easements associated with each potential lease and related right-of-way grants for subsea cable corridors in the Humboldt WEA.
Should a lease sale occur and before approving the construction of any offshore wind energy facility in the Humboldt WEA, BOEM will develop an Environmental Impact Statement according to the National Environmental Policy Act to analyze the project-specific environmental and socioeconomic consequences, in consultation with Tribes and appropriate federal, state, and local agencies, and with participation by stakeholders and the public.