The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has identified two draft Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) off the coast of Oregon. These draft WEAs cover approximately 219,568 acres off southern Oregon, with their closest points ranging from approximately 18 miles to 32 miles off the coast.
This move is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to deploy 30GW of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 and 15GW of floating offshore wind by 2035. BOEM director Elizabeth Klein emphasized the importance of a robust and transparent process, including engagement with tribal governments, agency partners, the fishing community, and other ocean users.
At the request of Oregon’s governor and other state officials, there will be a 60-day public comment period on the draft WEAs. BOEM will also hold an intergovernmental task force meeting and public meetings during this period to facilitate feedback and input. The goal is to finalize offshore areas with strong resource potential and the fewest environmental and user conflicts.
Oregon presents major opportunities for offshore wind deployment, which will create jobs and stimulate economic activity. The deep waters off the state’s coast also provide an opportunity for the acceleration of US leadership in floating technologies.
The draft WEAs announced have the potential to tap up to 2.6GW of Oregon’s wind resources. BOEM used a comprehensive process to identify these zones, engaging with stakeholders, tribes, and the public to consider the most suitable locations for floating offshore wind energy development. The process also took into consideration possible impacts on coastal and marine resources, as well as ocean users.
The Business Network for Offshore Wind has welcomed these plans, stating that the release of new draft wind energy areas off Oregon’s coast will attract investments in ports, vessels, and supply chain companies. This will not only benefit Oregon but also neighboring states like California and Washington, as it will deliver reliable power to the western grid.
The public comment period will provide an opportunity for further input, and the final WEAs off the coast of Oregon will be designated after careful consideration of this feedback.