Appeal To Oregon Governor To Pause Coastal Wind Project By Seafood Industry

A coalition that includes numerous members of the seafood industry and other interested parties called on Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek to put a stop to the offshore wind energy development planned off the Southern Oregon Coast. The group hopes to pause a federal plan to lease sites for floating wind turbines while the state’s roadmap is being finalized.

5 places off the California coast have already been auctioned by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to develop floating wind energy projects, and 6 projects on the East Coast have been approved as part of the Biden administration’s plan to make available 30 gigawatts of energy by 2030.


Southern Oregon Offshore Wind Energy

In Southern Oregon, 2 places on the coast have been identified by the BOEM to float wind farms. The Department of Energy indicated that some of the most consistent and powerful winds globally are located there. The project would add enough energy to power around 830,000 homes with 2.4 gigawatts of clean power. The sites are near Coos Bay- around 61,200 acres located over 30 miles from shore, and near Brookings, covering around 133,808 acres, and floating around 20 miles from the shore.

In a letter to the governor on Tuesday, the petitioners said that developing wind power off Oregon’s coast is an untested concept and in the current planned form does not exist anywhere on Earth in waters deeper than 300 meters. The scale of the floating turbines envisaged also doesn’t exist elsewhere and the letter suggests that Oregon would benefit significantly by learning from the projects already moving forward in California and on the  East Coast. It also highlights the roadmap currently being developed.


Petition To Halt Southern Oregon Wind Energy Auction Signed By Over 100

Over 100 signatories signed the letter to Gov. Tina Kotek which requested that she stop the BOEM from going ahead with the plan to auction offshore wind site leases, at least until Oregon has finalized its roadmap for offshore wind development.

The country-wide wind power plan is also being opposed by 5 Oregonian and Californian tribes, partly because BOEM officials have not addressed their concerns. The Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians passed a resolution in November to oppose the development.

Almost 3 dozen business associations and coastal businesses, including the West Coast Seafood Processors and Columbia River Crab Fishermen’s Association, and over 80 independent fishing vessel operators are also opposing the plan. Their concern is that the floating offshore wind turbines could disrupt marine ecosystems and hence Oregon’s $200 million a year commercial fishing industry.

BOEM refused a request to extend a 30-day public comment period on the planning and environmental assessment by Oregon’s congressional members. The letter said that they are hoping for a more forceful response from Gov. Kotek to turn the tide.


Oregon Roadmap To Plot Offshore Wind Energy Plans

As part of House Bill 4080 signed into law by Kotek last week, Oregon’s offshore wind roadmap will create statewide policies. The plan includes input from the community and determines labor standards. The letter says that there should be no auction until the roadmap has been completed, which has a deadline of September 1, 2025.

The coalition said that “The roadmap is the only way to ensure an equitable and transparent approach to offshore wind energy.”

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