Seattle developer pushes for WA’s first floating offshore wind farm off Olympic Peninsula

Offshore wind power on the Pacific Ocean has long been dismissed as a pipe dream due to its sudden collapse along the edges of its continental shelf.

But floating wind turbines can change that.

Trident Winds, a wind power developer based in Seattle, submitted an unsolicited lease request Monday to the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management to build a temporary offshore wind farm — the state’s first — about 43 miles off the coast of the Olympic Peninsula, Gray Near port.

Recommended Sites- Olympic wind project dubbed – Will provide 2,000 MW of clean energy to 800,000 homes, according to the developer. If all goes the company’s way, construction will begin in 2028 and the wind farm will be operational in 2030.

After examining the request, the bureau may choose to invite other developers for the site by issuing a request for interest, at which point the entire process will become competitive, as was the case in California where Trident Wind conducted a similar request. Had applied for the lease project in 2016.

“The reason we started talking about ocean wind 20 years ago – and not at the same time that the East Coast started talking about ocean wind – was because we didn’t have the technology for Trident Winds. Founder and CEO Alla Weinstein said. In 2017, she was appointed to the Washington Coastal Maritime Advisory Council by Gov. J. Inslee.

Weinstein said it is difficult to know exactly how many turbines could be built on site because the technology is maturing so quickly. In 2016, the industry was talking about 8-MW turbines, he said, but now it is looking at 15-MW turbines.

Principal Power – which was also founded and formerly led by Weinstein – submitted an unsolicited lease request for a wind farm from Oregon in 2013, but the project did not materialize after negotiations ended. Purchasing power agreements with the state and federal government,

Until recently, offshore wind turbines were often built on top of massive steel poles or other structures, up to 100 feet deep in the sea level in some places and up to 200 feet deep in others.

The use of this technique on the Pacific Coast of the United States was impossible due to a sudden, deep drop from the continental shelf, which can reach depths of more than 600 feet along parts of California, Oregon, and Washington.

That is, until recently, when new technology made it possible to install wind turbines on a floating platform attached to the ocean floor, which could be erected on the shore and carried to the sea.

Offshore wind farms are gaining momentum on the East Coast, but the floating sites proposed by Trident Winds – the Olympic Wind Project in Washington and the Castle Wind Project in California – will dwarf anything seen elsewhere in the country.

Deep waters and military hesitation have delayed many offshore wind projects on the West Coast. But in May 2021, the Navy stepped aside to allow the development of commercial offshore wind farms in two fields at Morro Bay and the coast of Humboldt in central and northern California, respectively.

President Joe Biden has aggressively pushed for wind power on the West Coast in the country’s bid to mitigate the worst effects of climate change by eliminating net fossil fuel emissions. The decision to open the door to wind farms in California was made weeks before the Biden administration’s approval to build the nation’s first commercial wind farm near the coast of Massachusetts.

As gas and oil prices rise, and the cost of renewable energy continues to fall, floating offshore wind power could prove promising for wind waters off the Washington coast.

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