Group pursuing floating wind farm off California coast

April 3 (Reuters) - EDP Renewables and four other companies have joined with a Northern California power provider to develop the first U.S. offshore wind farm to boast advanced floating turbines, the group said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), a local government authority that provides electricity to most of California’s Humboldt County, solicited bids for an offshore wind project earlier this year because it is seeking to generate more of its power needs locally.

The group plans to submit an unsolicited lease application to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in May or June of this year, said Lori Biondini, director of business development for RCEA. In the meantime, it is speaking to fishing industry and Department of Defense representatives about suitable locations for the wind farm.

The wind power will help balance out the large amounts of solar energy consumed in RCEA’s territory, Biondini said.

Currently RCEA sources solar from Southern California and wind energy from Oregon and Washington.

Humboldt County has the best wind resources off the coast of California, the group said in a statement, but the deep water along its coast has prevented development of standard, fixed offshore wind turbines.

Floating wind turbines are costly and have not been deployed widely. A small, 30 megawatt floating wind farm began operating off the coast of Scotland last year.

The Humboldt County project is expected to be between 100 and 150 MW, the group said.

Participants in the project include floating wind turbine maker Principle Power Inc, Aker Solutions, ecological consultants H.T. Harvey & Associates and environmental consulting firm Herrera Environmental Consultants Inc. (Reporting by Nichola Groom Editing by TomBrown)