EnBW to support California floating project

US: EnBW has entered the US offshore market by forming a joint venture (JV) with Seattle-based developer Trident Winds to build an up-to 1GW floating project off the coast of central California.

Morro Bay could be home to California's first large-scale floating wind farm (pic credit: Kjkolb)

The planned site off the coast of Morro Bay could be California’s first large-scale floating wind farm, the partners claimed.

It would consist of about 100 turbines installed on floating foundations and would have nameplate capacities of more than 6MW, Trident stated.

The Morro Bay project would initially have a total capacity of 650MW, before being expanded to 1GW.

The partners’ initial focus will be to obtain a site lease from seabed landlord, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), they stated.

Trident Winds submitted an unsolicited lease request to BOEM in January 2016, stating its intent to lease the required site area, situated more than 48 kilometres from the shore. BOEM is expected to return a decision on whether to award a licence this year.

EnBW and Trident will also need to secure a grid connection. Utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)'s water-cooled natural gas power plant in Morro Bay closed in 2014, freeing up grid capacity, the partners added.

"Successful projects require local knowledge, close interaction with stakeholders, detailed knowledge of permitting requirements, and extensive experience in offshore wind project design, construction and operation. The newly created joint venture brings all these elements together," Trident Winds CEO, Alla Weinstein, said.

Floating foundations allow for offshore wind projects to be developed in new areas with greater water depths and better wind conditions, the partners stated.

EnBW’s entry into the US offshore market follows its acquisition of a 35% stake in three offshore wind projects off the coast of Taiwan — its first activity in the south-east Asian country’s offshore wind sector.

The German developer has 336MW of offshore wind farms in operation, 610MW under construction, and is developing a further 900MW under development — all off the coast of its home country.