Department of Transportation Announces $426.7 Million Grant to Develop Deepwater Port and Marine Terminal in Humboldt Bay

Energy Law  

January 29, 2024

On January 23, 2024, the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) announced that the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District (“District”) will receive $426.7 million to construct a deepwater port and marine terminal (“Project”) that will support the development of offshore wind turbine devices. DOT’s grant comes through its Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight & Highway Projects (“INFRA”) program, which is partly funded through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The Project aims to rehabilitate a defunct marine terminal and establish the first offshore wind terminal on the Pacific Coast. The primary use of the Project’s marine terminal will be for the transport, import, staging, preassembly, final assembly, launch, in-water construction, and long-term maintenance of floating offshore wind turbine devices. When up and running, the District estimates that the marine terminal will be able to handle turbines as large as 25 megawatts and manufacture approximately an average of one turbine per week. In addition, the Project will include several environmental protection measures, including an eco-shoreline. Given its central location between Morro Bay, California, and the Southern Oregon Coast, the District has lauded the Project’s potential to support the assembly of offshore wind turbines for both areas.

With the DOT’s INFRA program grant, the District anticipates that the marine terminal will be operational in 2029. To meet that projection, the District expects permitting and design finalization to occur in 2025 and 2026, respectively. Before then, important environmental work could start earlier.

The Project is an important step forward in meeting California’s ambitious goals of installing 5 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 and 2 gigawatts by 2045. To read more about California’s offshore wind strategy, read here.