2.4 GW Offshore Wind Energy Project Opposed In Brookings

BROOKINGS, Ore. — Following a letter of opposition by the Brookings City Council to the Bureau of Energy Management (BOEM) about the latter’s Offshore Wind Energy Project on Monday, it is likely that the council will formally oppose the development of windmills off the Oregon Coast.

The WEA (wind energy area) in Brookings and Coos Bay potentially has 2.4 gigawatts of clean renewable energy according to the BOEM press release and would comprise 133,000 acres situated about 18 miles off the coast.


BOEM Offshore Wind Energy In Oregon Clean Renewable Energy Project

Supporting the Biden administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030, BOEM finalized the Energy Areas in Oregon on February 13, 2024. A map of the final WEAs is on BOEM’s website.

Karin Powers, the Governor’s Climate and Energy Policy Advisor said Gov. Kotek’s Office is starting to reach out to tribes and other affected communities in an Ocean Policy Advisory Council Meeting on April 22, 2024. Their goal is to create Oregon’s own road map to renewable energy.

At the meeting, Nina Jean Thurston, a project manager for BOEM, said leasing for this project could start as early as October 2024 after a 60-day comment period for questions addressing windmill auctions starts in April. The State of Oregon still has to confirm the project and the final environmental assessment must be posted by BOEM 30 days before auction starts.


Brookings Set To Oppose Wind Area Allocation

In the preliminary commentary period, marine & coastal habitats, marine mammals & sea turtles, and birds & bats made up a combined 21% of the public objections received. Cultural, tribal, and environmental justice objections made up 5% of the total received.

See also: Appeal To Oregon Governor To Pause Coastal Wind Project By Seafood Industry

In Brookings, the WEA area avoids 98% of areas that are important for commercial fishing. Mayor of Brookings, Isaac Hodges, says it feels like BOEM has already decided to go forward with the project but is checking the boxes on a to-do list. Hodges said no dialogue with the city or other stakeholders and tribes that could be affected has been undertaken by BOEM.

Hodges said that local industries have been shut down because of restrictions by the federal government which have restricted community members from utilizing local natural resources.  Hodges said, “To allow multinational corporations to come in and do as they wish or as BOEM tells them in our backyard feels like a lot of hypocrisy.”

Although measures by the governor may be slowing things down a little, seeking to address issues, it doesn’t appear to have changed what BOEM is doing. Hodges said it’s a big concern. A virtual Council meeting was held on April 22, 2024, with Offshore Wind Energy Planning and the Rocky Habitat Management Strategy being the main agenda item.

Although Hodges supports the clean renewable energy goal, he can’t support the project right now. He says dialogue must happen at the very basic level and that hasn’t materialized yet.

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