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Humboldt Bay commits to ‘green terminal’ strategy for offshore wind development

The site of the former Samoa pulp mill on the Samoa Peninsula in Humboldt Bay in 2015. It will be home to the new offshore wind terminal.

Posted on January 15, 2024

Environmental groups have successfully pushed for a ‘green terminal’ strategy at the Port of Humboldt outside Eureka.

On Thursday, the Humboldt Bay Harbor District, which manages the port, committed to using electricity instead of diesel to power the terminal’s machinery. The net-zero emissions goal will be implemented as the harbor develops a terminal where giant offshore wind turbines will be built.

In the coming years, Humboldt Bay is expected to be one of the leading ports for the deployment of floating offshore wind turbines on the West Coast. But that requires a new terminal built from the ground up.

Matthew Simmons from the Environmental Protection Information Center said a green terminal is a no-brainer, since California has already set green-energy targets in the coming years.

“If we were to build it all out with fossil fuels today, and then have to undo it and rebuild it all with electricity in 20 years, that would end up costing quite a lot more,” Simmons said. “So building it right the first time is gonna save us money in the long run.”

One part of this strategy involves reducing the emissions from ships in the harbor, which traditionally run their engines to power equipment.

“But new ports are being built with essentially a giant plug that the ship can plug into, and then run on electricity while it’s in the harbor so it doesn’t have to run the engine and emit diesel fumes,” said Simmons.

Other ports on the West Coast, including Los Angeles and Long Beach, have committed to net-zero emissions by 2030, Simmons said. Both have spent millions on upgrades to reduce emissions at their ports.

The Humboldt Bay Harbor District plans on having a terminal built by the beginning of 2028, in order to deliver wind turbines in time to meet state climate goals. It will spend the next year developing a timeline for the terminal.


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