Posted on August 16, 2023
The U.S. Department of Defense and Floventis Energy have reached an agreement to enable operation of the state’s first offshore wind power project in waters near Vandenberg Space Force Base in northern Santa Barbara County, California, the US.
The mitigation agreement creates a series of de-confliction protocols for CADEMO’s spinning blades, whose tips will reach 870 ft high, to operate in busy airspace used by Vandenberg’s space launches. It is the first such agreement for the US military on the West Coast, and it sets a precedent for the offshore wind industry’s planned expansion to other locations in the coming years and decades.
“This agreement is a big step, both for our project and for the California offshore wind industry,” said Mikael Jakobsson, Director of Floventis Energy, the Owner and Developer of CADEMO. “The military has many complex operational needs here, and that’s why it took two years of negotiations to hammer out this deal. It helps create a testing and verification process to ensure that offshore renewable energy can coexist with national security.”
CADEMO will include four 15 MW floating turbines in state waters off Vandenberg’s coastline. It is expected to be operational in late 2027, years before deployment of the larger scale wind projects expected farther offshore in the Morro Bay and Humboldt areas.
Vandenberg Space Force Base hosts launch pads for NASA and SpaceX spacecraft, intercontinental missiles for the Air Force, as well as region-wide military radar. It is the largest and most important space base on the West Coast.
Under the mitigation agreement, the Defense Department and Air Force commit to file non-objection letters with the Federal Aviation Administration and other federal and state agencies to green-light CADEMO’s permitting process. Still underway are CADEMO’s environmental reviews under California and federal law, which are expected to culminate with a final permit decision by the California State Lands Commission and other state and federal agencies.
By being first in the water and demonstrating innovative practices in the environment and supply chain development – as well as coexistence with the military – CADEMO will help generate the knowledge and public acceptance that California needs to successfully grow the sector.
Jakobsson explained: “The climate crisis demands that California develop offshore wind as a component of its strategy of getting to 100% clean energy. But this must be done in a manner that meets a wide variety of stakeholder concerns, from the military to Native tribes to labour unions. CADEMO will be operational years before the gigawatt-scale projects in federal waters, and it will help de-risk the process forward and will provide many lessons learned so California can do offshore wind right.”