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Wind turbines off of Block Island

Wind turbines at Orsted's Block Island wind farm off Rhode Island, one of two commercial offshore wind farms in the United States. Credit: PennyJack Creative/Shutterstock

Biden Administration Identifies Potential Offshore Wind Areas in Oregon’s Deep Waters

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1614
August 16, 2023

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has identified two draft Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) off the coast of Oregon for the potential development of floating offshore wind farms capable of producing up to 2.6 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy.

The draft WEAs cover approximately 219,568 acres offshore southern Oregon, located approximately 18 and 32 miles off the coast at their closest points.

Oregon’s Draft WEAs. Map courtesy BOEM

“As BOEM works to identify potential areas for offshore wind development, we continue to prioritize a robust and transparent process, including ongoing engagement with Tribal governments, agency partners, the fishing community, and other ocean users,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein.

Oregon’s deep waters provide opportunities for offshore wind deployment and the advancement of floating technology, creating jobs and economic activity.

BOEM used a comprehensive process to identify potential offshore locations for floating offshore wind energy development, taking into consideration impacts to local coastal and marine resources and ocean users. Collaboration with NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science helped to minimize conflicts using an ocean planning model.

The two draft WEAs reflect changes based on responses to an Oregon Call Area that the Department of the Interior released for public comment in April 2022.

BOEM has now opened a new 60-day public review and comment period on the draft WEAs. Public input will be considered before final WEAs are designated.

“We look forward to working with the state to help us finalize offshore areas that have strong resource potential and the fewest environmental and user conflicts,” added Klein.

The draft WEAs are part of the Biden Administration’s goal of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 and 15 GW of floating offshore wind by 2035.

Later this month, BOEM will hold its first-ever offshore wind energy lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, auctioning two WEAs offshore Louisiana and Texas that were finalized in October 2022. The lease sale will be the fourth under the Biden Administration, part of a leasing path that involves holding up to seven new offshore wind lease sales by 2025 in the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, Central Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Carolinas, California, and Oregon.

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