US BOEM finalizes offshore wind energy areas near Oregon

Feb. 14, 2024
The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has designated two final wind energy areas offshore Oregon. 

Offshore staff

WASHINGTON, DC — The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has designated two final wind energy areas offshore Oregon. 

The wind energy areas 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 areas are based on reducing potential conflicts of ocean users, particularly on commercial fishing.

The two wind energy areas total about 195,012 acres, and they avoid 98% of the areas recommended for exclusion due to their importance as commercial fishing grounds. The Coos Bay wind energy area is 61,204 acres and is located 32 miles from shore. The Brookings wind energy area is 133,808 acres and is about 18 miles from shore. 

On Feb. 14, BOEM will publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing its intent to prepare an environmental assessment of potential impacts from offshore wind leasing in the wind energy areas. The notice will initiate a 30-day public comment period. Another public comment period would occur if BOEM decides to move forward with a lease sale in either of the wind energy areas.

In addition, BOEM partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) to assess opportunities for wind energy development and reduce or avoid impacts on other important ocean uses in Oregon. The agencies developed a comprehensive, ecosystem-based ocean planning model that leverages the best available data on natural resources, ocean industries like fisheries and energy production, and areas of national security activities to identify areas with high wind energy resource potential and fewer potential impacts to other ocean users and sensitive environmental resources, according to BOEM.

BOEM said this comprehensive approach provided valuable insights about the seascape and its uses and facilitated greater transparency and positive coordination with government partners and ocean stakeholders through direct engagement and incorporation of their feedback into the NCCOS model.

On Aug.15, 2023, BOEM announced a public comment period on two draft wind energy areas offshore southern Oregon. The draft wind energy areas covered about 219,568 acres, with their closest points to land ranging from about 18 to 32 miles. The draft wind energy areas represented a subset of the original 1,159,298 acres (1,811 sq miles) that the US Department of the Interior identified for public comment in April 2022.  



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