August 23, 2023
HUMBOLDT COUNTY, RWE & VINEYARD OFFSHORE TO EXPLORE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & WORKFORCE PLANNING
The County of Humboldt yesterday signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with RWE and Vineyard Offshore – two leading offshore wind developers with lease areas off the coast of Humboldt. This collaboration supports a community-led effort to identify offshore wind’s potential benefits to successful, sustainable, and equitable economic growth across the Humboldt County wind energy area. Furthermore, it seeks to align with the region’s existing economic development and workforce planning activities to address Humboldt County’s unique character, communities, and history.
“The County of Humboldt is proud to take a leadership role in the development of offshore wind on the West Coast, both to help achieve state and federal renewable energy targets in our ongoing fight against climate change, and to bring substantial benefits to our community,” said Michelle Bushnell, Humboldt County Second District Supervisor and Chief Elected Official to the Humboldt County Workforce Development Board. “Partnering with RWE, Vineyard Offshore, local governments and stakeholders at this early stage will ensure that Humboldt remains front and center as this globally significant project moves forward.”
The MoA states that the parties agree to cooperate to ensure that development of floating offshore wind seeks to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to the surrounding community while promoting sustainable economic growth. This goal will be accomplished by engagement and consultation with Tribal Nations, local residents and community organizations to plan and promote a diverse economic landscape as offshore wind development moves forward.
“Humboldt County is well positioned to drive forward economic development that champions sustainable and collaborative growth for the North Coast region,” said Rob Mastria, California Project Director at RWE. “By working together from the start, our goal is to maximize opportunities for our community to shape offshore wind projects in a way that best addresses the needs and opportunities for the people of Humboldt.”
“We’re proud to partner with the County of Humboldt and RWE on an agreement that will build out a sustainable and equitable offshore wind industry on the West Coast,” said Christian Scorzoni, Vineyard Offshore Vice President and Head of External Affairs. “There’s a real opportunity here to create jobs and economic opportunities that will benefit everyone, and we’re excited to start this next chapter.”
The economic development and workforce planning efforts will include local oversight. The MoA is the beginning of a community-wide workforce planning and development effort that both welcomes and anticipates additional partnerships and collaboration.
“I'm thrilled about the MoA between the county, RWE and Vineyard Offshore,” said Humboldt County Workforce Development Board Chair. “This agreement propels us towards enhanced collaboration, focused communication, and vital financial support. This is a big step forward in forging a path to amplify economic development, workforce planning, and community engagement, fostering a prosperous future for all.”
“After months of negotiating, county economic development staff have reached an agreement with both of the offshore wind developers for the Humboldt County wind energy area to promote a mutually supportive relationship in planning for the region’s economic growth, workforce development, and overall prosperity,” said Humboldt County Economic Development Director Scott Adair. “This agreement is a momentous step forward as our community seeks ways to minimize and mitigate any adverse impacts of offshore wind development to our community while also promoting sustainable economic and workforce growth for Humboldt County residents and businesses.”
In December 2022, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held the first federal lease auction for offshore wind energy areas in California. RWE and Vineyard Offshore successfully acquired lease areas off the coast of Humboldt County to develop commercial scale floating offshore wind projects. These projects will contribute toward California’s target to reach 25 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity by 2045.
RWE is a leading renewables developer in the U.S. with 8 GW of operating capacity and an ambitious project pipeline of more than 24 GW of onshore wind, solar and battery storage. The company is a pioneer of offshore wind with over 20 years of experience across the entire value chain resulting in 19 successfully completed projects globally. In the U.S., RWE is the fastest growing new entrant in the offshore wind market, with a development portfolio of over 4 GW, including the largest lease area off the coasts of New York and New Jersey.
Vineyard Offshore is leading the development of two lease areas in the Northeast, in addition to a recently acquired lease in Northern California, OCS-P 0562. Lease area OCS-A 522, known as Vineyard Northeast, is located off the coast of Massachusetts. OCS-A 544, known as Vineyard Mid-Atlantic, is located in the New York Bight. All three lease areas are owned by funds managed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP). Combined with its joint venture development of the first-in-the-nation offshore wind project, Vineyard Wind, now under construction, Vineyard Offshore has the potential to develop more than 6 gigawatts of clean, renewable and affordable energy on the East and West Coasts of the United States.
RWE is leading the way to a green energy world. With an extensive investment and growth strategy, the company will expand its powerful, green generation capacity to more than 50 gigawatts internationally by 2030. RWE is investing more than €50 billion gross for this purpose in this decade. The portfolio is based on offshore and onshore wind, solar, hydrogen, batteries, biomass and gas. RWE Supply & Trading provides tailored energy solutions for large customers. RWE has locations in the attractive markets of Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region. The company is responsibly phasing out nuclear energy and coal. Government-mandated phaseout roadmaps have been defined for both of these energy sources. RWE employs around 19,000 people worldwide and has a clear target: to get to net zero by 2040. On its way there, the company has set itself ambitious targets for all activities that cause greenhouse gas emissions. The Science Based Targets initiative has confirmed that these emission reduction targets are in line with the Paris Agreement. Very much in the spirit of the company’s purpose: Our energy for a sustainable life.
Vineyard Offshore is leading the development of two lease areas in the Northeast, in addition to a recently acquired lease in Northern California, OCS-P 0562. Lease area OCS-A 522, known as Vineyard Northeast, is located off the coast of Massachusetts. OCS-A 544, known as Vineyard Mid-Atlantic, is located in the New York Bight. All three lease areas are owned by funds managed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP). Combined with its joint venture development of the first-in-the-nation offshore wind project, Vineyard Wind, now under construction, Vineyard Offshore has the potential to develop more than 6 gigawatts of clean, renewable and affordable energy on the East and West Coasts of the United States. To learn more, visit: www.vineyardoffshore.com.