Earlier this year, the Port of Long Beach announced plans to build Pier Wind, a $4.7-billion "floating" pier which would be used for the assembly of giant offshore wind turbines. That plan has taken a key step forward reality this week, with the start of the environmental review period for the project.
The project, as detailed in an initial study, calls for the construction of a 400-acre terminal area on newly built land composed of dredged material. Turbine systems roughly the size of the Eiffel Tower would be assembled within the terminal, then floated into an abutting wet storage area before being towed out to sea.
Access to the terminal from the water would be provided through a new wharf along its northern edge, which would accommodate delivery vessels and floating foundation transfers for the turbines. Plans also call for a 30-acre transportation corridor, also built on dredged material, which would provide space for four lanes of vehicle access to the complex.
Turbines at the Port of Long Beach would be a significant, albeit fleeting, change to the city's skyline. Rising up to 1,100 feet, the turbines would more than double the height of the nearby Long Beach International Gateway Bridge and equal the scale of the Wilshire Grand Center in Downtown Los Angeles, the tallest building on the West Coast.
Construction of Pier Wind is billed as an opportunity for California to meet a state goal of producing 25 gigawatts of offshore wind power by the year 2045, as well as the federal government's goal of lowering the cost of offshore wind power by 70 percent by 2035.
Pending approvals from both local, state, and federal agencies, in two phases over a period of nine years, commencing in 2027. The initial phase of Pier Wind could be completed as early as 2031, with the full complex slated to open in 2035.
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