Herrera was part of an interdisciplinary team led by Principle Power, Inc. proposing to install a 30-megawatt wind energy facility approximately 18 nautical miles off the Pacific Coast near Coos Bay, Oregon. The offshore wind turbines would be placed on patented, floating foundations (WindFloat), which eliminate the need for seabed-disturbing foundation structures and can be sited to avoid conflicts with other marine uses. It was the first offshore wind energy project proposed along the West Coast of North America and the second proposed offshore wind project in the US to use floating foundations. The US Department of Energy (DOE) selected the project to receive a $4 million grant as part of DOE’s program to encourage Advanced Technology Demonstration Projects, which use innovative methods of developing renewable energy sources.
Herrera and the PPI team conducted numerous studies of the offshore environment to inform project leasing, design, permitting, and construction. During the initial phases of the project, Herrera prepared the unsolicited Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lease application to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), supported public outreach, engaged with local, state, and federal agencies with jurisdiction to pre-plan the team’s compliance and permitting approach, and prepared a report for DOE that explained the environmental studies and permitting processes needed for project development. Subsequently, Herrera led preparation of a third-party Environmental Assessment documenting environmental resources in the project area (including offshore, nearshore, and terrestrial) and potential effects of the WindFloat Pacific project on those resources. The document supported the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and informed the NEPA environmental assessment to be prepared by BOEM, the lead federal agency. Herrera also prepared a Biological Assessment, Avian and Bat Conservation Plan, and Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Monitoring Plan to support compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), respectively.
As part of the BOEM approval process, Herrera authored sections and coordinated and synthesized work from all areas of the PPI team to prepare and submit a draft Construction and Operations Plan (COP). The COP included project information, a summary of site investigations completed, a construction plan, an operations and maintenance plan, a conceptual decommissioning plan, a summary of environmental impacts and mitigations, a description of the regulatory framework, and financial assurances. Additionally, as part of the COP, Herrera prepared a draft Oil Spill Response Plan and the aforementioned biological monitoring plans, BA, and NEPA document. Appendices included the additional required documentation prepared by the team and incorporated into the document by Herrera, including a draft Safety Management System, draft Navigational Safety Risk Assessment, draft Terrestrial Archaeological Reports, and the CVA nomination.
During the BOEM process and ongoing project development work, Herrera continued to support public meetings in and near Coos Bay to inform the community of ongoing project activities. And, in concert with project partners, continued communications with numerous local, state, and federal agencies to facilitate formal consultation and initiate permitting processes.