America’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced new draft Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) off the coast of Oregon opening up the US west coast to offshore wind.

The draft Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) off the coast of Oregon

Source: BOEM

America’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced new draft Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) off the coast of Oregon

It’s an announcement which has been applauded by the Business Network for Offshore Wind, which said that these new WEAs will contribute significantly to fostering greater market confidence in port investment, manufacturing facilities and supply chain companies in the region.

“We welcome the release of new draft wind energy areas off Oregon’s coast and applaud BOEM for maintaining its leasing schedule, which will build the industry’s momentum by going through timely auction processes,” said Liz Burdock, founder and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind

”The US has an opportunity to emerge as a global leader in floating offshore wind; the development of a regionwide, not state specific, supply chain is critical to building the expertise and manufacturing base capable of supporting the industry.”

Wider benefits

Burdock said that the introduction of these new WEAs will not only benefit Oregon, but California and Washington by attracting new investment and delivering reliable power to the Western grid. 

The two WEAs cover more than 200,000 acres, which brings them in line with Oregon’s 3 GW planning goal passed by the legislature in 2021.

Critically, BOEM maintained the vast majority of the WEAs in water depths less than 1,300 metres deep. While this depth will require advanced floating technology, it remains within the capability of near-term technological development.

The news follows a flurry of increased activity in the US on WEA allocation and offshore windfarm auctions

There will now follow a 60-day public comment period starting on 15 August 2023, where BOEM will hold public meetings to outline data and information used to inform the draft WEAs and to discuss next steps.

The meetings will be open to the public, with one specifically designed for engaging the fishing community.

BOEM will also convene an Oregon Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force meeting to discuss the draft WEAs and next steps in offshore wind energy planning in Oregon. Additional information on the webinars will be available on the BOEM Oregon state activities page.