UPDATE 2:50 p.m.: One of the successful bidders, RWE Offshore Wind Holdings, LLC, sent the following response to Outpost request for additional comment:
“RWE is committed to thoughtfully engaging tribes and tribal fisheries throughout all stages of project development,” Dominik Schwegmann, US West Offshore Development Manager for RWE, wrote in an email. Outpost. “Before the auction, RWE met with a number of tribes to learn more about their heritage. We look forward to meeting with all affected tribes to continue discussing their interests regarding our new lease area off the North Coast.
The Yurok tribe has doubts about offshore wind.
During a virtual press conference this Thursday morning, Yurok Tribe Vice President Frankie Myers expressed his disappointment that the two provisional winners of the offshore wind lease auction for the Energy Zone Humboldt Wind Turbine – California North Floating, LLC and RWE Offshore Wind Holdings, LLC – had not “engaged with the tribe in any meaningful way” before or immediately after the auction.
“It’s beyond frustrating,” Myers said. “It was a long process. We’ve been through this with other organizations…we’ve been attending conferences for over a year to make sure that everyone who was interested – or potentially interested – in bidding on these leases in our ancestral territory knew and understood that… we were going to be actively involved and wanted to be part of the conversations from the start. So that none of the people who won the auction reach out and say, “Hey, we’re thinking of coming to you!” we consider absolutely disrespectful.
On the contrary, “several other bidders” had contacted the Yurok Tribe ahead of this week’s auction to discuss plans for the floating offshore wind project and assure the tribe that it “would be [an] active participant” throughout the decision-making process, Myers said. “It turns out that none of the [entities] who actually won the auction showed up to talk to the tribes.
Forty-three separate entities, ranging from regional groups to international energy giants like Shell, have qualified as potential bidders for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) offshore wind lease auction. California North Floating, LLC, a subsidiary of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, and RWE Offshore Wind Holdings, LLC, a German energy multinational, have placed winning bids for two leases in the Humboldt Wind Energy Zone, which spans over of 132,000 acres about 20 miles west of Eureka, for a total of $331.5 million.
Three leases have also been awarded to Equinor Wind US, LLC, Central California Offshore Wind, LLC and Invenergy California Offshore, LLC for the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area for a total of $425 million.
In the years leading up to the recent auction, Myers said BOEM had made a concerted effort to include the Yurok tribe by ensuring “we were engaged every step of the way.”
“If you look at the notice of final sale, you’ll see language that talks about tribal sovereignty, that talks about tribal governance and the importance of bringing tribal participation, and that’s what we asked for” , did he declare. “We understand the limitations of BOEM. We understand that they are playing in a box and we wanted to make sure they were doing their best in the box. … Could they have pushed the envelope further? Absolutely. But did they come on the plate? Did they have a meaningful conversation? Yes. Yes, they have.”
However, Myers stressed that the tribe’s conversations with BOEM were only part of the consultation process. “And, from Yurok’s perspective, consultation doesn’t get us to where we need to be at the end of the day.”
“The people of Yurok see offshore wind as a conversation,” he continued. “We are not in a position to support it and we are not in a position to oppose it. We don’t know yet what it will be, but what we do know is what we have learned over the past 150 years from dealing with the industry. What we do as indigenous people, what we do as Yurok people, is look to the past to guide our future. And I can tell you that after watching the industry enter our region with the exact same playbook, it never ended well for our Yurok people.
Going forward, Myers said the Yurok Tribe will continue to work with its consultants as well as other North Coast tribes and stakeholders to strengthen engagement with both tenants, as well as the state. and the federal government.
The Outpost requested additional comment from the two tenants, California North Floating, LLC and RWE Offshore Wind Holdings, LLC, but did not receive a response prior to the publication of this story. We will update this post when we get back to you.
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