Oregon just got its first offshore wind energy areas with 2.4 GW of potential


In a first, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has finalized two offshore wind energy areas (WEAs) off Oregon’s coast.

BOEM said the WEAs total around 195,012 acres and have 2.4 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy potential.

The Coos Bay WEA is 61,204 acres and 32 miles from shore. The Brookings WEA, near the California border, is 133,808 acres and is about 18 miles from shore:

BOEM also stated that they avoid 98% of the areas recommended for exclusion “due to their importance as commercial fishing grounds.”

Anne Reynolds, vice president for offshore wind at The American Clean Power Association, said:

Designating commercially suitable, environmentally sound areas of the Pacific Ocean for offshore wind energy moves the region one step closer to a clean energy future.

We applaud BOEM for listening carefully to Oregonians while ensuring that Oregon offshore wind can be responsibly developed.

But not everyone’s happy with this announcement – the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians unanimously passed a resolution expressing opposition to offshore wind energy development off the Oregon Coast in November but says it remains open to working with BOEM.

And Heather Mann, director of the Midwater Trawlers Cooperative, said that “authentic engagement with BOEM has been nonexistent.” Mann asserted that “BOEM will stop at nothing until our oceans are littered with wind turbines and all just to meet an arbitrary political deadline.”

The next step in BOEM’s process involves preparing an environmental assessment of potential impacts in those areas. This notice initiates a 30-day public comment period, and another public comment period will be launched if BOEM decides to move forward with a lease sale in either of the WEAs.

The state of Oregon has set a goal of achieving 3 GW of offshore wind by 2030.

Read more: World’s first semi-submersible floating offshore wind farm beats expectations in the face of extreme storms

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