Wind promises new economic boom for Humboldt County

By Andrew Graham (Editorial), Press Democrat, November 9, 2021 

“If the North Coast’s many offshore wind energy boosters get their way, change for Samoa, California, has only just begun.” Samoa, located on Humboldt Bay a mile-an-a-half northwest of Eureka, had a population of 258 in 2010.

The Vance Lumber Company “built Samoa over the following two decades, putting up dozens of houses, a school, a bank and a civic center. Lumber flowed out of the bay by ship to Los Angeles, San Francisco and as far as Australia and Hawaii.

“Vance sold to Hammond in 1900, [and the] town passed from one company to another. 

“In 2014, the Humboldt Bay Harbor District acquired the pulp mill site and waterfront.

“Now, the district’s elected governing board hopes to convert that shoreline into a modern marine terminal centered on building towering floating wind turbines and sending them to sea.

“In July, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a state budget that included $11 million to the harbor district to advance that plan.

“Energy experts measure power sources by their ‘capacity factor.’ For wind energy, the measurement is reached by calculating how often a farm can generate its full electricity output potential. The Humboldt Wind Energy Area’s capacity factor is estimated as high as 52 [percent, making it highly effective]. 

“The wind’s strength alone isn’t enough to make Humboldt Bay into [a] clean energy behemoth …,” but the deep water harbor with no bridge across it is the ace in the hole.

“The 12-megawatt offshore wind turbines that would most likely be developed for the Humboldt Wind Energy Area would be more than 800 feet tall, 52 feet taller than the height of the Golden Gate Bridge.

“Humboldt Bay is California’s only harbor north of Ventura with both deep water and no impediment from a bridge.”

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