U.S. states set gigawatt goals for offshore wind

Offshore wind turbines rely on ever longer composite blades — Siemens Gamesa’s 10+ MW turbine blades stretch to 94 meters and GE’s Heliade-X span 107 meters — to generate clean, renewable energy. Three different states recently announced their progress toward gigawatt grids to help combat climate change and fossil fuel jobs loss.

California

With deep waters and some of the highest wind speeds in the country, California has 112 GW of offshore wind power potential, meaning it could produce 1.5 times as much electricity as the state uses in one year, according to “The California Offshore Wind Project: A Vision for Industry Growth,” a new report from the American Jobs Project in partnership with the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State University, Pacific Ocean Energy Trust, and BVG Associates.

The report notes that floating offshore wind turbines are a “natural choice” for California, because roughly 95% of the state’s available offshore wind resources are in waters deeper than 60 meters, where turbines with fixed-bottom foundations aren’t feasible.

The report set out a list of key strategies:

  • Set a market acceleration target;
  • Establish a phased approach to workforce development;
  • Align innovation and access to capital with industry needs;
  • Upgrade ports and establishing port innovation districts;
  • Appoint a California offshore wind czar

Through the passage of State Bill 100 in 2018, California is set to achieve 100% clean energy by 2045. “California’s coast offers some of the highest wind resource potential in the country,” says Arne Jacobson, director of the Schatz Energy Research Center. Offshore wind can help California meet this goal and achieve a carbon-free energy future while tapping into rapidly decreasing costs and growing demand for this technology and providing good-paying jobs for workers transitioning from the fossil fuel sector.

 

New York

Vineyard Wind has proposed a new offshore wind project that could provide up to 1.2 GW of power, enough to deliver emission-free energy for more than 750,000 New York homes. This proposed Liberty Wind project was submitted in response to New York’s recent offshore wind solicitation.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Nov 2018 solicitation called for at least 0.8 GW of new offshore wind projects for New York, quadrupling the state’s offshore wind target to 9 GW by 2035, up from 2.4 GW by 2030.

Located 85 miles from shore, the 1.2 GW Liberty Wind project would not be visible from any New York shoreline, yet deliver clean power directly to the New York grid via an existing substation on Long Island.

“Liberty Wind will bring clean energy at the lowest price to New York ratepayers, along with substantial economic benefits for the state … ,” says Lars Thaaning Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind. “This is the first leg of a well-designed New York ocean grid for offshore wind …,” adds Ed Krapels, CEO of Anbaric, a partner in Vineyard Wind, which is also currently in the process of permitting and financing its 800 MW Massachusetts offshore wind proposal.

 

New Jersey

Meanwhile, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has released a report detailing its progress toward the state’s offshore wind goals. “We have gone from having no program on the day the governor was inaugurated 55 weeks ago to developing a cutting-edge offshore wind program with a goal of 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030,” states Joseph L. Fiordaliso, president of the NJBPU.

A key piece of the governor’s clean energy initiatives aimed at combating the effects of climate change, this offshore wind activity includes soliciting bids for the first 1.1 GW of offshore wind and a request by the governor to consider an additional 1.2 GW solicitations in 2020 and 2022 as part of the goal of 3.5 GW by 2030.

 

U.S. states set gigawatt goals for offshore wind, by Ginger Gardiner, Composite World, February 27, 2019.

ARPA-E Commits $28 Million to Develop Advanced Floating Offshore Wind Turbines

The U.S. Department of Energy’s innovation arm wants to disrupt floating offshore wind turbine technology.

On February 1, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced it was making available $28 million in funding for research projects to develop new technologies for floating offshore wind turbines.

The funding opportunity falls under a new ARPA-E program called ATLANTIS (Aerodynamic Turbines, Lighter and Afloat, with Nautical Technologies and Integrated Servo-control).

“We are trying to find economically attractive solutions for floating offshore wind turbines,” Mario Garcia-Sanz, the ATLANTIS program director, told Greentech Media in an interview.

“The current state of the art for FOWT [floating offshore wind turbines] is too massive and expensive for practical deployment. ATLANTIS seeks to design radically new FOWTs,” the ATLANTIS team wrote in a program briefing.

According to ARPA-E, nearly 60 percent of the United States’ accessible offshore wind resource, estimated at 25 quads annually, is found in waters more than 200 feet deep — beyond the depth at which fixed-foundation turbines are economical.

Last October, GTM reported on projects under development in Portugal and Norway that had tipped the floating offshore wind market closer to commercialization in Europe.

Efforts to deploy floating turbines in the United States, where the technology will be necessary to access strong winds found in deep waters offshore the West Coast, lag behind those in Europe.

Nevertheless, there is activity underway in the United States.

Last April, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority selected a consortium to build an floating offshore wind farm as large as 150 megawatts off the coast of Humboldt County, California. The Castle Wind project proposed for waters in Morro Bay, off California’s Central Coast, would include 100 floating turbines with a total generating capacity of 1,000 megawatts.

Time for an R&D push

An R&D push led by ARPA-E could help researchers and project developers in the United States not only close the gap with competitors in Europe (some of which, like the Germany utility EnBW, are looking to collaborate on floating offshore projects in U.S.), but also drive down costs.

“Funding a serious, near-term R&D effort would help accelerate cost reductions and make the technology feasible on a much larger scale before the end of the decade,” Anthony Logan, a North America wind energy analyst with Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, said last month during a roundtable discussion on the Green New Deal convened by GTM.

Logan outlined some of the advantages floating projects have over fixed-foundation turbine projects.

“A large, multi-gigawatt build-out of floating [turbines] would provide not only higher capacity factors by opening up sites with higher wind speeds in deep water but also mitigate the lack of geographic diversity that will start to hamper the tightly clustered fixed-bottom offshore wind farm plans on the Atlantic Coast,” he said.

“There’s a question of quayside space availability, but on the surface, floating wind’s ability to build the entire unit in port and tow it out to sea would go a long way to mitigating the need to dance around Jones Act restrictions on installation vessels,” Logan added.

Using control co-design to solve problems

In its guidance to research teams interested in applying for ATLANTIS program funding, ARPA-E encouraged prospective applicants to adopt “control co-design” approaches in their work.

Control co-design brings together interdisciplinary teams of engineers and scientists from the start in the hope that such cross-pollinating collaboration will spur creative thinking.

“The control co-design approach is completely different. You invite all the engineers to work together in a concurrent way to have a new design, a new solution,” said Garcia-Sanz.

Assemble a multi-disciplinary team at the outset, he added, and “you can end up designing the system completely differently.”

Garcia-Sanz said the ATLANTIS program has three research goals: 1) develop “radical” new floating offshore wind turbine designs that maximize the rotor-area-to-weight ratio while maintaining or increasing turbine generation efficiency; 2) build a new generation of computer tools to help simulate and calculate the effectiveness of the new designs; and 3) collect real-world data from existing floating offshore wind turbines to validate new designs.

According to Garcia-Sanz, the current $28 million funding opportunity is the first phase of what the ATLANTIS team hopes is a two-phase program. Phase 1 will run for two years. Applicants have until March 18 to submit concept papers outlining their research proposals.

Funding announcements are expected by the end of 2019.

 

ARPA-E Commits $28 Million to Develop Advanced Floating Offshore Wind Turbines, by Justin Gerdes, Greentech Media, February 25, 2019.

US Aims To Disrupt Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Field

The US has been long sitting on a 13,000-mile coastline worth trillions (yes, trillions) of BTU in offshore wind energy, all of it accessible and ripe for the plucking. And yet, the country has only 5 commercial offshore turbines in operation. Somewhat ironically, the tide finally began to turn during the Trump administration. More and larger offshore projects are finally in the pipeline. To realize the full benefits of its offshore resources, though, the US will have to start getting serious about floating wind turbines.

Winds are stronger and more consistent. Floating turbines also enable wind development to take place in long swaths of the US coast that are too deep for conventional foundation-based turbines — and where large electricity-sucking populations tend to concentrate. So, what are we waiting for?

Dream Crushing Floating Wind Turbines Are On The Way

Other countries are already dipping a toe in the floating offshore wind turbine waters. Scotland is among the leaders with its Hywind project. France has also staked a claim in floating wind turbine development as the host country for the Floatgen consortium.

One issue is that an off-the-shelf supply chain is only just beginning to develop. Wind and water conditions vary from one region to another. A certain amount of wheel re-inventing has to take place before commercial-scale construction occurs at any particular site.

In addition, for all the cheering over Floatgen, the project is still in the demonstration phase. It consists of just one turbine with 2 megawatts of capacity. The Hywind project is also a relatively modest array at five turbines. In other words, investor nerves are still in play.

US Finally Wakes The Sleeping Floating Wind Dragon

Nevertheless, more floating offshore wind turbine projects are beginning to inch onto the pipeline. For example, here the the US the newly minted Redwood Coast Energy Authority in California is soliciting developers for the first floating offshore wind farm in the US.

If all goes according to plan, the effort will result in an array estimated at five to 15 floating turbines.

The precise location of the sea-to-land cable is not yet determined, but RCEA is already looking at the Humboldt Bay Generating Station in Northern California for the grid connection.

How Floating Offshore Wind Turbines Will Crush Coal, Oil, And Natural Gas

Here’s where it gets interesting. The Humboldt Bay power plant is a natural gas power plant with diesel backup. The company behind the plant’s equipment, Wärtsilä, is already planning for the day when natural gas will have to get along with more renewable energy in the grid.

Wärtsilä recently upgraded the plant. According to the company the new equipment is “ideal for providing a reliable backup to intermittent renewable resources, such as wind power resources, which are currently being developed in the region.”

That’s consistent with the emerging philosophy among natural gas stakeholders. The American Petroleum Institute, for example, has been making the case that modern natural gas power plants can provide the flexibility needed to integrate more renewable energy into the grid — at the expense of coal power, of course.

With a capacity of 163 megawatts, the Humboldt Bay plant won’t be ready to switch over to wind power any time soon. Even so, if the proposed floating wind farm gets off the ground it would still make a significant contribution to the grid mix.

Doing the math based on scaling the Floatgen 2-megawatt technology to a wind farm of 5 to 15 turbines, the RCEA project would have a capacity of 10 to 30 megawatts.

If you step it up a notch, the floating turbines in Scotland’s Hywind offshore wind farm are rated at 6 megawatts each. Under the scenario of 15 turbines at 6 megawatts each, capacity could climb up to 90 megawatts. That’s way over half the capacity of the existing Humboldt fossil plant.

Trump or no Trump, coal is already on the way out. Renewables are already crowding into the space that natural gas is trying to claim for itself. A fresh burst of activity in the offshore wind sector will accelerate these twin trends.

US Challenges Global Offshore Wind Industry with Cutting Edge R&D

Speaking of fresh burst, the US Department of Energy and the State of New York recently paired up to kick the nation’s wind industry into high gear with a new R&D consortium aimed at accelerating wind power development, both onshore and offshore.

In support of that endeavor, earlier this month the Energy Department announced a new $28 million round of funding for something awkwardly called Aerodynamic Turbines, Lighter and Afloat, with Nautical Technologies and Integrated Servo-control, or ATLANTIS.

I know, right? It seems like an awful lot of effort went into that acronym. Anyways, they aren’t kidding around. The program is aimed squarely at disrupting the floating offshore wind turbine field. ARPA-E, the Energy Department’s high-tech, high-risk, high-reward technology office is funding the initiative.

Part of the ATLANTIS initiative aims at accelerating the floating offshore wind sector by speeding up the design process:

Control co-design methodologies bring together diverse engineering disciplines to work concurrently while designing a device, instead of in sequential steps. The CCD approach enables project teams to develop new ways to build FOWTs [floating offshore wind turbines] that would not be possible using a traditional design approach.

That’s just for starters. In addition, ARPA-E is looking for “design approaches that maximize power to weight ratios while maintaining or increasing turbine efficiency.”

As ARPA-E explains, today’s floating wind turbines are your basic wind turbines, that float. The office is looking ahead to the next generation, where it envisions new designs that do away with the “massive floating platform” approach. That’s not gonna be easy:

To design innovative, economically competitive FOWTs, researchers must overcome several significant technical barriers: insufficient current knowledge of how FOWT sub-system dynamics interact; insufficient computer tools for dynamic simulation; and a dearth of experimental data. ATLANTIS will address these technical barriers while exploring radically new FOWT design concepts that minimize mass and maximize productive rotor area to provide economical offshore wind power.

Got all that? It might take a while, but according to ARPA-E’s numbers the payoff is impressive:

Accessible U.S. offshore wind is estimated at more than 25 quads per year (a quad is one quadrillion BTUs, equivalent to 45 million tons of coal, 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, or 170 million barrels of crude oil). Nearly 60% of that wind energy—the equivalent of the entire U.S. annual electricity consumption—blows across waters more than 200 feet deep, an area that cannot be economically accessed today.

Got what it takes to apply for funding? Run right over to the ARPA-E eXCHANGE portal.

Meanwhile, CleanTechnica is reaching out to RCEA to see if there’s any new news on their offshore wind project, so stay tuned for more on that.

 

US Aims To Disrupt Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Field, by Tina Casey, Clean Technica, February 10, 2019.

PG&E tells local officials bankruptcy filing won’t affect energy rates

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., the country’s largest utility, announced Monday it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy — a move that creates uncertainty as to whether Humboldt County energy ratepayers will be affected.

PG&E currently faces $30 billion in potential damages from litigation over a series of wildfires in California during 2017 and 2018. Many were killed and thousands of structures were destroyed.

“The number one priority must be to protect ratepayers and fire survivors,” state Sen. Mike McGuire said in a statement. “We must ensure PG&E doesn’t miss a beat with their electric and gas contracts and we must have survivors at the top of mind to make sure they are taken care of every step of the way.”

The Redwood Coast Energy Authority Board of Directors will receive an update Jan. 28 as to how the filing will impact local energy rates. The board has already heard from PG&E, which said the utility’s bankruptcy won’t change rates “in any way,” RCEA board member and 2nd District Supervisor Estelle Fennell told the Times-Standard.

“We’re working with PG&E and (Community Choice Aggregators) to find out in the long term how they’re going to resolve PG&E’s role in the provision of power,” Fennell said.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees all state utilities, could possibly look at a restructuring, Fennell suggested.

Locally, PG&E owns multiple Eel River dams and over 5,000 acres of land in the area, which the utility was using for the Potter Valley energy project. In September, the utility began seeking to auction off the parcels associated with the project.

Rep. Jared Huffman said the utility’s status will be a state issue and out of his purview, but he added that it’s “hard to imagine” that the bankruptcy won’t affect ratepayers at some level, given the scale of liability.

“As we work through this issue — and I have no idea how it ends relative to PG&E solvency — we have to confront this bigger issue of climate change and disaster preparedness,” Huffman said. “Whatever happens in the PG&E bankruptcy, I think we’re going to need to look at creative reforms so we don’t have mass firestorms caused by failed power supplies and dry conditions.”

Shomik Mukherjee can be reached at 707-441-0504. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

PG&E tells local officials bankruptcy filing won’t affect energy rates, by Shomik Mukherjee, Times Standard, January 14, 2019.

Arcata adopts new energy efficiency standards

The city of Arcata has adopted a new energy ordinance that will require residential buildings to be more efficient than the current minimum state standards dictate. Known as a “reach code,” the ordinance is a small part of Arcata’s local Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan.

“We’re looking for every opportunity to reduce greenhouse gases,” Emily Benvie, Environmental Programs Manager, said. “You pay more upfront to make it more efficient, but in the long term it’s cost effective.”

A city document identifies energy efficiency as a key component in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The document states that, “Humboldt Bay has the highest local sea-level rise rate in California, approximately two to three times higher than the long-term global rate.” Thus in an effort to stave off sea-level rise as an effect of increased greenhouse gases, the reach code was adopted.

According to Benvie, the state has existing standards covering energy efficiency, covered by Title 24 of the California
Code of Regulations. A provision within Title 24 requirements authorizes local jurisdictions to pass more stringent measures, “deemed reasonably necessary because of local conditions caused by climate, geology or topography,” according to a city document.

With stringency comes the burden of proof. Local jurisdictions looking to adopt reach codes must prove the measure they take will actually be cost effective. Julie Neander, deputy director of community services, said such a study was completed in 2016, called the “CALGreen Cost Effectiveness Study.” The study states, “the energy efficiency standards in this Ordinance will meet the Study’s cost-effectiveness standards in Arcata,” according to the city document.

The standards imposed by the ordinance pertain to newly constructed, low rise, single and multi-family units. Neander said newly constructed single family homes will be required to be 30 percent more efficient than the current state minimum. For newly constructed multi-family units, they must be 20 percent more efficient than state minimums, she said.

Some changes builders might implement to reach the standards are high performance attics and walls, high efficiency heating and water heating equipment, high efficiency fans, and more efficient hot water distribution systems, according to Neander. The efficiency standards can also be reached through utilizing a combination of efficiency measures and the photovoltaic compliance credit, which is a type of credit for solar systems.

“These buildings will last for 50-plus years,” she said. “They’ll be energy efficient now and for decades to come.”

 

Arcata adopts new energy efficiency standards, by Philip Santos, The Times Standard, January 5, 2019.

Redwood Coast Energy Authority is Hiring

Redwood Coast Energy Authority is looking to hire a manager of human resources and workforce development. This role will be focused on managing internal human resources functions as well as developing and administering workforce development programs that advance RCEA’s mission. Please click on the below links to view the application instructions and the full job description. Initial review of applicants will take place December 14, 2018.

Job Description

Introduction and Application Instructions

The Redwood Coast Energy Authority is a local government Joint Powers Agency founded in 2003 whose members include the County of Humboldt; the Cities of Arcata, Blue Lake, Eureka, Ferndale, Fortuna, Rio Dell, and Trinidad; and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District.

 

All text from www.redwoodcoast.org

Bureau plans forum on offshore wind in Golden State

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is holding a public information meeting on 13 December 2018 to provide an update on planning issues regarding offshore windfarms off the coast of California.

At the meeting, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will share information on planning activity for possible offshore wind developments along the California coast.

On 19 October 2018, BOEM published a call for information and nominations to solicit public input on the potential for offshore wind energy development in three call areas: two in central California and one in northern California. BOEM also wants to obtain further information about industry interest in commercial wind energy leases in the call areas.

At the meeting, BOEM will discuss how the public can comment on the call, the planning timeline, and additional opportunities for public participation. BOEM will provide a demonstration of the California Offshore Wind Energy Gateway, a web-based spatial planning tool it and the State of California are using to collect and share information on offshore uses and resources to inform decision-making. In addition, the public will have the opportunity to provide input and ask questions of state agency representatives and other BOEM renewable energy task force members.

Interest in offshore wind off the coast of the state is growing, not least since Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation setting a goal of 100% clean energy for California, a move that could accelerate plans to build floating offshore windfarms off the coast of the Golden State.

A report from the Green Economy Programme at the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley suggests that floating offshore wind energy could play a leading role as a source of green energy and employment.

In September a consortium of companies and a coastal energy authority submitted a lease application to BOEM to advance development of a floating offshore wind energy project 20 miles off the coast of Eureka in northern California. Redwood Coastal Energy Authority, Principle Power, EDPR Offshore North America and Aker Solutions have been working since 2017 to develop offshore wind potential off Humboldt County.

 

Bureau plans forum on offshore wind in Golden State, by David Foxwell, Offshore Wind Journal, November 20, 2018.

Redwood Coast Energy Authority Plays Key Role in Bringing Offshore Wind to Redwood Coast

Wind power off the coast of California has been in the news recently, all the way from our Northern California Press Democrat to the New York Times. If all you ever did was read these stories you would never know that Community Choice Energy agencies have been a driving force behind at least one of these highlighted projects.

In April 2018, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), created a consortium of potential partners for their offshore wind project. In September, RCEA sent in a proposal to the Bureau of Ocean Management to lease ocean waters for wind turbines. Currently there are no operational offshore wind projects in the state, but offshore wind prospects are increasing throughout the coast, particularly along the Redwood Coast, San Luis Obispo, and Morro Bay. According to a press release by RCEA, they expect to build about 10 to 15 turbines at a site chosen to “avoid or minimize impacts on marine navigation corridors, major commercial fishing areas, and environmental resources.”  This project is projected to cost about $500 million and can potentially start construction in 2023 with 120 MW of power being delivered to homes in 2024 according to an article by the New York Times.

How did this come to be?

The energy produced by the wind farm would be aggregated then distributed to RCEA’s service territory of about 60,000 customers. These customers are enrolled in the Energy Authority’s Community Choice program. RCEA, as well as other Community Choice agencies, seek to harness local energy resources, create jobs in their communities and deliver local clean power. Matthew Marshall, the Executive Director of RCEA says “It is accurate to say that RCEA would not be moving forward with this wind project if not for having formed a Community Choice agency and the role of RCEA, and other CCAs, as potential off takers is definitely key.”

This project is just one of many in state energy projects started by a Community Choice agency. Peninsula Clean Energy and Silicon Valley broke ground on a collaborative Solar project in Los Banos, California earlier this month. With 19 Community Choice agencies and more on the way, California can anticipate more local clean energy projects.

Local energy partnership readying North Coast for hydrogen powered cars

At the beginning of this year, Gov. Brown signed an executive order mandating in part that, “all State entities work with the private sector and all appropriate levels of government to put at least 5 million zero-emission vehicles on California roads by 2030.” As a result, a local partnership between the Redwood Coast Energy Authority and the Schatz Energy Research Center has begun a series of steps to prepare Humboldt for air friendly hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, or FCEV’s.

“It’s exciting technology …there are certain things that capture peoples’ imaginations,” says Aisha Cissna, who works with RCEA.

But Cissna, among others, is wrestling with a bit of a catch-22. There are currently no fueling stations for FCEVs in Humboldt County. So before FCEVs come to Humboldt, they need a place to fuel. But, for fueling stations to be constructed, FCEVs need to be on the road.

What are Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles?

Unlike battery powered electric vehicles, FCEVs do not need to be plugged in, as they combine hydrogen with oxygen to creates on board electricity, according to Keith Malone, public affairs person for the California Fuel Cell Partnership, an organization created to help commercialize hydrogen fuel cell technology. Cissna said battery powered electric vehicles can take up to eight hours to recharge. FCEVs on the other hand can be refueled in three to five minutes, according to Malone.

“They’re damn fun to drive,” Malone says. “Any car with an electric motor is fun to drive because it has kick.”

Of the two FCEV models on the market,the Toyota Mirai and the Honda Clarity, Malone said they take about five kilograms of hydrogen, which currently costs about $16 per kilogram. Malone, however, says the price of hydrogen is “a bit artificial” because auto manufacturers are offering free fuel for the first three years for purchasers of FCEVs, meaning that there is no reason to lower the price.

The Toyota Mirai, and the Honda Clarity both boast a range of over 300 miles, Malone said. Hyundai is claiming the Nexo, a crossover utility vehicle which has yet to be released, will have a range of 370-380 miles.

For those who might perceive electric vehicles as “wimpish,” Malone presents the ZH2, a truck developed by GM for the US military, powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Because of a decreased heat signature, the truck is able to get 90 percent closer to targets without detection, according to Malone. Additionally, Malone said FCEVs are known to operate well in extreme conditions. The final kicker? Instead of noxious exhaust fumes, FCEVs produce potable water.

Challenges

Malone recently spoke on a panel at Humboldt State University which centered around the regional approach to adopting and accelerating electric vehicle use. Composed of government agencies, major auto manufacturers, and energy companies, all members believe there is a future pathway for both battery and fuel cell electric vehicles. While both technologies are developing in the southern portion of the state, bringing FCEVs to the North Coast comes with a few unique challenges.

“It’s all about infrastructure.” Malone said.

“You can’t sell the cars unless you have the infrastructure.”

Cissna said the primary approach to solving the “cars before construction” dilemma is approaching state agencies.

“We’ve been reaching out to different fleets,” she said. Cissna said among those contacted are California Fish and Wildlife and the California Department of Transportation. She hopes that if large fleets convert to FCEV’s, they will at least begin the process of establishing hydrogen fueling stations in the area.

FCEVs may for now be out of reach for many consumers. Jerome Carman, a senior research engineer at SERC said one of the biggest challenges to bringing FCEVs to the North Coast is that Humboldt County has a lower average income than other areas. This makes the possibility of affording a new FCEV less likely.

“We have a large used vehicle population,” he said.

Carman said we probably won’t see “significant adoption,” until used FCEVs are available.

Then there is the question of where to get hydrogen from. Hydrogen is traditionally transported via truck, much like gasoline and natural gas. In our remote area, this means the cost might be significantly increased, according to Cissna. One proposed solution is the local production of hydrogen. While the proposal is still in its early stages, Cissna said local hydrogen production could increase local energy resiliency and decrease the costs of hydrogen.

“We want to position ourselves to be as ready as possible for when they want to develop up here,” she said.

Philip Santos can be reached at 707-441-0506.

 

Local energy partnership readying North Coast for hydrogen powered cars, by Philip Santos, The Redwood Times, October 12, 2018.

Clarke Museum, Eureka Visitor Center Go 100% Renewable On Energy

EUREKA – The Clarke Historical Museum and Eureka Visitor Center are excited to announce they have enrolled in Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s (RCEA) REpower+, Humboldt County’s Community Choice 100% Renewable Energy program.

According to Museum Director & Curator Ben Brown, the move is a natural one. “The Clarke is the home of Humboldt County’s history, so I think it’s only appropriate we should also be making history by fully embracing the energy model of the future. We’ve even added a smartphone charging station for the convenience of museum and Visitor Center guests who’d like to run their phones on renewable power.”

The museum worked with RCEA to upgrade its energy program to 100% renewable electricity, sourced completely from wind, solar, and local biomass power plants. For an added cost of just $0.01 more per kilowatt hour, the museum is no longer relying on fossil fuels to meet its energy needs, reflecting Humboldt County’s move as a whole toward more environmentally beneficial energy sources.

A growing number of Humboldt businesses, residents, and agencies, including the City of Arcata and the City of Blue Lake, have also opted-up to help achieve energy independence and energy security in Humboldt County, maximizing the environmental benefits offered by RCEA’s electricity generation program. Strong community support and patronage for these businesses shows that the public is committed to increasing our energy resiliency, boosting our local economy, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Alanna Powell, Visitor Center and Humboldt Made Director, is also fully on board with the move. “I’m delighted that we’re not only reinforcing Humboldt’s environmental credentials with this move, but also that our energy is now Humboldt Made!”

Adds Brown “Both the Museum and the Visitor Center fully endorse the use of clean, locally produced energy and encourage other businesses to get on board with Community Choice. We’d be happy to talk about the benefits with anyone considering the move – and of course, as a nonprofit, we’d also be very happy to discuss sponsorship of our clean energy program!”

The Clarke Historical Museum is at 240 E Street, Eureka and on the web at http://www.clarkemuseum.org

RCEA is a local government Joint Powers Agency whose members include the County of Humboldt, all of its cities, and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District. The agency’s purpose is to develop and implement sustainable energy initiatives that reduce energy demand, increase energy efficiency, and advance the use of clean, efficient and renewable resources available in the region. RCEA launched their Community Choice Energy program in May 2017, operates as a partnership with PG&E to buy cleaner, more locally produced electricity that is still reliably delivered to customers by PG&E.

Redwood Coast Energy Authority is at 633 3rd Street, Eureka and on the web at http://www.RedwoodEnergy.org

 

Clarke Museum, Eureka Visitor Center Go 100% Renewable On Energy, by Clarke Historical Museum Staff, Clarke Historical Museum, September 30, 2018.