West Coast
David Dixon / Geograph.org / (CC BY-SA 2.0)

CA - Northern California Offshore Transmission Line Could Fast-Track Wind Farms Powering SF Bay

Proposed floating wind farms off Northern California’s Humboldt Bay could generate power for the San Francisco Bay Area utilizing an underwater transmission line system extended over 250 miles and costing upwards of $3.1 billion, according to a Humboldt State University report.

The report was produced by the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University, Arcata, California and is entitled “California North Coast Offshore Wind Studies: Subsea Transmission Cable Conceptual Assessment.”

The report said that routing “a high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission cable from the Humboldt Bay area to the San Francisco Bay (SF Bay) area would be intended to deliver power generated from an offshore wind farm(s) in the Humboldt area to load centers in the SF Bay area …. The subsea distance between SF Bay and Humboldt Bay (250 miles) necessitates the use of an HVDC electrical system to minimize electrical losses. The HVDC cable system would consist of the cable system itself and an HVDC converter station at each end of the transmission cable (Humboldt Area and SF Bay Area) to convert the power to/from the standard alternating current (AC) grid system.”

In July, Adam Stern, executive director of the Menlo Park, CA-based trade association, Offshore Wind California, told AJOT that “progress has been made in the federal approval process” conducted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) so that auctions of offshore wind sites, “may begin in 2021.”

Three prospective offshore sites are:

  • Morro Bay
  • Diablo Canyon
  • Humboldt Bay

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