Pacific Northwest
Mark Nowlin / The Seattle Times

OR - Biden administration moves ahead with proposed Oregon offshore wind power

Two sites near the Oregon coast have been identified by the federal government as potential leasing sites for offshore wind energy. The sites are about 12 nautical miles offshore Coos Bay and Brookings.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will assess areas in federal waters near Coos Bay and Brookings — both about 14 miles, or about 12 nautical miles, from the coast — as potential sites for offshore wind farms, the Department of the Interior announced Wednesday.

BOEM published a call for information and nominations to gauge commercial interest and public input on both sites. Public comments can be submitted here (regulations.gov) until the period ends in 60 days on June 28.

The areas comprise about 1.16 million acres (468,787 hectares) in total.

RELATED: Potential offshore wind power areas ‘shock’ Oregon fishing industry

Several offshore wind-energy projects have been approved and begun construction along the East Coast as the Biden administration pushed to create 30 gigawatts of electricity through offshore by 2030. While topographical features along the West Coast — namely the deep drop in water depth along its continental shelves — present a technological conundrum, floating wind turbines could be the answer.

This project is an opportunity to help “make the West Coast a floating wind technology capital of the world,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “We’re really looking to get as much information as we can as early on in the process.”

The sites encompass an area spanning over 1.1 million acres near the south and south-central coast of Oregon. The calls for commercial interest and public comment will help BOEM identify technological constraints, areas of high wind speed, sensitive marine habitats, and potential impacts on commercial fisheries.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports this is the first big regulatory step toward bringing an offshore wind project to the Pacific Northwest state.

While BOEM has not issued similar calls in Washington, the agency is in the process of reviewing two unsolicited lease requests from developers looking to initiate wind-energy projects along its coast.

One of those requests was submitted earlier this month by Seattle-based developer Trident Winds, which proposed a floating wind farm — the state’s first — about 43 miles off the coast of the Olympic Peninsula, near Grays Harbor.

“We will continue to evaluate those opportunities in the future,” Lefton said. Under the Biden administration, BOEM “has created tremendous momentum to make offshore wind a reality in the United States so that we can fight climate change and create good-paying jobs.”

“As we move forward, we are committed to doing so in a manner that robustly engages communities and avoid, as much as we can, impacts to other ocean users and marine life.”

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Read Also

Oregon Coast targeted for offshore wind development, KGW.com / April 27, 2022

Administration sets plan for 7 offshore wind farms by 2025

2 areas off Oregon Coast targeted for offshore wind development, OBP / April 27, 2022

Oregon Activities | Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Floating Offshore Wind Study: Benefits & Challenges for Oregon / State of Oregon

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STATE OF OREGON OFFSHORE WIND STUDY
​​​​​​​​​​​​​Oregon recognizes the merits of studying and planning for offshore wind, though it has not committed to deployment targets. HB 3375 (2021) requires Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) to develop a legislative report that identifies the benefits and challenges of integrating up to 3 GW of floating offshore wind by 2030.​ ​

ODOE's Role ​

DOE-Looks-Future-Offshore-Wind.jpg


The Floating Offshore Wind Study will consist of a literature review by ODOE of relevant studies, followed by structured engagement with stakeholders.

​Pursuant to the law, ODOE's study will involve:

  • Literature review​ on the benefits and challenges of integrating up to 3 GW of floating offshore wind into Oregon's electric grid by 2030.
  • Development of prompting questions to help gather input from stakeholders on the ​topics identified in the literature review, including reliability, state renewable energy goals, jobs, equity and resilience.
  • Convening, at minimum, two public meetings (see below) with interested stakeholders to provide a summary of the literature review and to gather feedback on key topics.
  • Submitting a final report to the Legislature that summarizes the key findings from the literature review and stakeholder consultation, as well as opportunities for future study and engagement.

Stakeholder Engagement

HB 3375 calls for broad stakeholder engagement with state, regional and national entities, and lists several specific stakeholders to consult with, including but not limited to:

  • Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development
  • Oregon Business Development Department (Business Oregon)
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Oregon Public Utility Commission
  • Northwest Power and Conservation Council
  • Bonneville Power Administration
  • Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • United States Department of Defense

Sign up to receive meeting notices and email updates about the study. The final report is due to the Legislature by September 15​, 2022.

Meetings & Opportunities for Input

ODOE will convene meetings to provide information and opportunities for feedback between January - May 2022. Materials and log-in information will be published below prior to the meetings.


​Meeting Materials​​

Public Meeting #3: May 11, 2022 - 5:30 p.m.

Join in-person:
The Mill Casino - Salmon Room East
3201 Tremont Ave, North Bend, OR 97459

Join online via Webex (recommended)
Password: Energy

You can also call in: 1-408-418-9388
Access Code: 233 508 13869
​Meeting materials coming soon.

Public Meeting #2​: April 7, 2022

Meeting Recording


​Public Meeting #1: March 10, 2020

Meeting Recording


Kick-off Information Meeting: January 20, 2022

Meeting Recording​

Read more.