The Department of Defense and an energy firm have inked a deal to allow operation of the state’s first offshore wind power project in the ocean off the Vandenberg Space Force Base coast. 

The mitigation agreement, signed last week according to Floventis Energy, spells out a series of steps for the pilot project, dubbed CADEMO, to operate near the military installation that conducts rocket launches and missile tests. 

CADEMO will include four floating turbines in state waters off Vandenberg’s coastline. Each turbine would generate 15 MW, with the 60 MW adding up to enough renewable electricity to meet the needs of the equivalent of 16,300 U.S. households.

“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.

A pilot project with four floating wind turbine generators is proposed off the coast of Vandenberg Space Force Base. The firm signed an agreement with the military for the project, but has several key steps ahead including environmental impact studies. (California State Lands Commission)

“The military has many complex operational needs here, and that’s why it took 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.”

Cierco Energy has partnered with SBM Offshore to create Floventis Energy for CADEMO.

The turbines would sit 2.8 miles off Vandenberg’s coastline and covering an area of approximately 6 square miles.

CADEMO’s backers expect the turbines to be operational in late 2027, ahead of the proposed larger-scale wind projects expected farther offshore in the Morro Bay and Humboldt areas.

The deal marked the first pact for the Department of Department on the West Coast.

Vandenberg public affairs staff referred questions to Department of Air Force and Department of Defense, but representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

Under the mitigation agreement, the Defense Department and Air Force committed to filing non-objection letters with the Federal Aviation Administration and other federal and state agencies to green-light CADEMO’s permitting process, Floventis claimed.

CADEMO’s environmental reviews under California and federal law have not been completed. 

The State Lands Commission expects to work with the Air Force, dubbed the lead agency for the National Environmental Protection Act process, to create a joint environmental impact statement and environmental impact report for the project to meet state California Environmental Protection Act and federal NEPA rules.

A notice of intent/notice of preparation will launch the scoping process for the EIS/EIR and officials hope to release those notices this year.

Those notices will start procedures to begin collecting comments about what issues should be analyzed in the environmental studies. 

In 2021, the State Lands Commission agreed a full-blown environmental study should be conducted. At the time, two firms proposed projects off the coast of the base, but one has since withdrawn its plans.