Washington – In support of the Biden-Harris administration’s goals for deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 and 15 GW of floating offshore wind energy capacity by 2035, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the designation of two final Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) offshore Oregon.
The WEAs were developed following extensive engagement and feedback from the state, Tribes, local residents, ocean users, federal government partners, and other members of the public. The final WEAs are based on reducing potential conflicts of ocean users, particularly on commercial fishing.
The two WEAs total approximately 195,012 acres and they avoid 98% of the areas recommended for exclusion due to their importance as commercial fishing grounds. The Coos Bay WEA is 61,204 acres and is located 32 miles from shore. The Brookings WEA is 133,808 acres and is about 18 miles from shore. A map of the final WEAs can be found on BOEM’s website.
“BOEM values its close coordination with the State of Oregon as we continue to work together to maintain a robust and transparent offshore wind planning process,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “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.”
Since the start of the Biden-Harris administration, the Department of the Interior has approved the nation’s first six commercial-scale offshore wind energy projects. BOEM has held four offshore wind lease auctions, which have brought in almost $5.5 billion in high bids, including a record-breaking sale offshore New York and New Jersey and the first-ever sales offshore the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts.
BOEM is exploring additional opportunities for offshore wind energy development in the U.S., including in the Gulf of Maine and the U.S. Central Atlantic coast. The Department also continues to take steps to evolve its approach to offshore wind to drive towards union-built projects and a domestic-based supply chain.
(Image from U.S. Department of Energy)