West Coast Offshore Wind Project Moves Ahead

The first offshore wind project proposed for federal waters off the West Coast has just taken a big step forward. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell joined by Governor John Kitzhaber and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau, announced that BOEM has given the green light for Principle Power, Inc. to submit a formal plan to build a 30 megawatt offshore wind pilot project using floating wind off the coast of Coos Bay, Oregon.

City of Coos Bay Oregon“Today’s announcement is consistent with President Obama’s commitment to take actions that will create jobs and develop clean, domestic energy that powers our economy,” said Jewell. “This pioneering project would demonstrate floating wind turbine technology capable of tapping the rich wind energy resources in deep waters offshore Oregon. As we look to broaden our nation’s energy portfolio, the innovative technology and its future application hold great promise along the West Coast and Hawaii.”

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the West Coast holds an offshore wind capability of more than 800 gigwatts of wind energy potential. This is equal to more than three quarters of the country’s entire power generation capacity. In addition, total U.S. deepwater wind energy resource potential is estimated to be nearly 2,000 gigawatts.

“Today marks a milestone in ocean renewable energy, and also the next big leap for cutting-edge innovation necessary to meet our energy and carbon reduction goals,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “These critical partnerships with our federal, regional, tribal, and local partners are advancing an energy future that supports a healthy economy and good jobs while strengthening Oregon’s legacy of environmental stewardship.”

BOEM has issued two non-competitive leases (Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound and an area off Delaware) and three competitive leases (two offshore Massachusetts-Rhode Island and another offshore Virginia). The competitive lease sales generated about $5.4 million in high bids for about 277,550 acres on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. Additional competitive auctions for wind energy areas offshore Maryland, New Jersey and Massachusetts are expected in 2014.

One thought on “West Coast Offshore Wind Project Moves Ahead

  1. Washington and Oregon are helping to pave the way toward an American energy mix that is more secure, reliable, and cleaner, too.

    Wind power can lead us to increased energy independence while reducing costs and pollution, especially carbon dioxide emissions. The more than 60 gigawatts of installed wind capacity at the end of 2013 already offsets nearly 100 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of taking 17 million cars off the road. Those offsets are permanent for the life of a project.

    The addition of offshore wind to the United States’ already impressive generating portfolio of land-based wind power demonstrates that the American appetite for finding solutions to complex problems, such as our energy future, will go on.

    Peebles Squire
    American Wind Energy Association