195,000 acres on Oregon coast designated for offshore wind energy

February 15, 2024

Two sites off the coast of Oregon have been designated as offshore wind energy areas, a key step in the process to sell leases for offshore wind energy production.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management selected a 61,204-acre area 32 miles off the Central Oregon coast near Coos Bay and 133,808 acres 18 miles off the shore of Brookings in Southern Oregon. If the areas are fully developed, floating offshore wind could generate 2.4 gigawatts (GW) of energy production.

The announcement comes after a lengthy process of determining where to place offshore wind while maximizing potential energy output and minimizing disruptions to the coastal ecosystem, fishing and commerce. The BOEM worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s ocean science division to determine which location would have the most consistent wind and also where floating turbines would not interfere with other ocean uses.

Initially, BOEM identified more than 1 million coastal acres in April 2022. After public input from community organizations, industry groups and government entities, the area was narrowed down twice. With a smaller area selected, the bureau is beginning the final environmental assessment process, and a 30-day public comment period starting Feb. 14 and ending March 15.

“We will continue to work closely with Tribal governments, federal and state government agencies, ocean users, coastal communities and all interested stakeholders as we move forward with our environmental review,” BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein said in a press release.

Following this round of public comment, BOEM will complete an environmental assessment and post a proposed sale notice, which will also undergo a review process. The details will then be finalized with federal and state governments before posting a final sale notice, which would specify the terms and conditions of the lease.

Along with posting a final sale notice, the bureau sets a date and time for offshore wind developers to bid on leases to generate wind energy. After the bidding process, the selected energy producer must submit a detailed plan. BOEM reviews the developer’s plans for the site, conducts a technical review and decides whether to allow construction to begin.

Opening the new wind energy areas for leasing will support U.S. clean energy production goals to generate 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 15 GW of floating offshore wind by 2035. Offshore wind is a major part of the energy transition because ocean winds are stronger and more consistent than wind on land, and proximity to population centers in coastal cities means the energy does not have to travel large distances.

“Offshore wind is likely to play an important role in meeting our state’s growing energy demand and goal of 100% renewable energy by 2040,” Oregon Governor Tina Kotek said in a press release.

Since January 2021, the U.S. Department of Interior has approved six commercial-scale projects energy from offshore wind. The process of leasing acres in the ocean has generated almost $5.5 million in bids from energy producers. In addition to the Oregon coast, leasing opportunities are also in progress in the Pacific offshore of California, in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.

All news and information on this site is provided by the team at Strategic Partnerships, Inc. Check out this short 1-minute video that provides a quick overview of how we work with clients.

Photo by Flowocean

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