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News Release: BOEM Finalizes Wind Energy Areas in Oregon

Oregon Wind Energy Areas

BOEM has designated two final Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) off the Oregon coast, the Coos Bay WEA is 61,204 acres and  located approximately 32 miles (mi) from shore. The Brookings WEA is 133,808 acres and  approximately 18 mi off the coast. If fully developed, the Final WEAs could support 2.4 GW of energy production.  

BOEM used a comprehensive process to identify the potential offshore locations that appear most suitable for floating offshore wind energy leasing and potential development, taking into consideration possible impacts to local coastal and marine resources and ocean users. BOEM coordinated with the State of Oregon and collaborated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) to use an ocean planning model that seeks to identify and minimize conflicts.

Maps

Visual Simulations

Engagement Opportunities

During the Oregon WEA Environmental Assessment 30-day public scoping period, BOEM will accept comment and information from the public to help inform the scope and alternatives of the Environmental Assessment. 

Next Steps

BOEM will conduct an environmental review of the WEAs to assess potential impacts from offshore wind leasing activities. On February 14, 2024, BOEM will initiate a 30-day public comment period on the scope of the analysis document.  For additional information, please go to the Oregon Draft Wind Energy Area Environmental Assessment page at boem.gov/oregonea.

Oregon planning area map
Offshore Wind Energy Planning Area Offshore Oregon

BOEM and the State, led by the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), have engaged in offshore wind planning with a meaningful and effective data gathering and engagement process to inform the identification of Oregon Call Area(s) appropriate for offshore wind leasing. The Data Gathering and Engagement Plan for Offshore Wind Energy in Oregon outlines how BOEM and the State are conducting the planning process.  The Data Gathering and Engagement Summary Report outlines the outcome of BOEM’s and DLCD’s engagement through 2021 with research organizations and potentially interested and affected parties in gathering data and information to inform potential offshore wind energy leasing decisions offshore Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD), in partnership with BOEM,  developed the Oregon Offshore Wind Mapping Tool (OROWindMap) within the West Coast Ocean Data Portal to provide public access to the best available data throughout the planning process. This planning tool accesses relevant datasets and provides visualization capabilities to inform the planning process for offshore wind energy leasing in federal waters offshore Oregon. The OROWindMap Catalog documents the data records incorporated into OROWindMap. The inclusion of new data sets will help inform the public, the State, and BOEM during the planning process. More information on how to include data in OROWindMap

More information on BOEM-Oregon offshore wind planning efforts can be found on the Oregon Offshore Renewable Energy factsheet and on the BOEM Oregon Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force and BOEM and State of Oregon Participation in Standing Meetings webpages.

Related Announcements

Call for Information and Nominations 

Oregon Call for Information and Nominations 

The Call Area is located offshore the State of Oregon and comprises areas identified as Coos Bay and Brookings. These two areas total about 1,159,298 acres (1,811 square miles) and are located offshore south-central and southern Oregon, respectively.

  • Coos Bay Call Area: The boundary of the Coos Bay Call Area begins 13.8 miles offshore Charleston, Oregon, and extends to about 65 miles offshore.  The eastern boundary water depth ranges from about 394 to 722 feet (120 to 220 meters).  The area is about 67 miles in length from north to south and about 41 miles in width from east to west.  The entire area is approximately 872,854 acres (1,364 square miles).
     
  • Brookings Call Area: The boundary of the Brookings Call area begins 13.8 miles offshore Gold Beach and Brookings, Oregon, and extends to about 46 miles offshore. The eastern boundary water depth ranges from about 410 to 1,115 feet (125 to 340 meters).  The area is about 46 miles in length from north to south and about 22 miles in width from east to west.  The entire area is approximately 286,444 acres (448 square miles).

Maps of Oregon Call Areas 

In response to the Call, BOEM received nominations of areas of interest from 4 developers. Each of the parties listed below has been legally, technically and financially qualified.

Draft Wind Energy Areas

On Aug.15, 2023, BOEM announced a 60-day public comment period on two draft Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) located in the existing Call Areas offshore southern Oregon. The draft WEAs cover approximately 219,568 acres offshore southern Oregon with their closest points ranging from approximately 18 – 32 miles off the coast. 

BOEM used a comprehensive process to identify the draft WEAs as potential offshore locations that appear most suitable for floating offshore wind energy leasing and potential development, taking into consideration possible effects to local coastal and marine resources and ocean users. In addition to coordinating with the State of Oregon, BOEM collaborated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) to use an ocean planning model that seeks to identify and minimize conflicts.

Maps

During the comment period, BOEM held an intergovernmental renewable energy task force meeting, an informational fishing webinar and in-person public meetings on the Oregon coast to discuss data used to inform the draft wind energy areas and next steps. 

Virtual Oregon Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force Meeting 

Informational Fishing Webinar (fishing data focus):  

  • Agenda
  • Thursday, September 21, 2023: 5:00 pm – 8:00 p.m. 

In-person public open house meetings:  

  • VENUE CHANGE - Gold Beach, Oregon: Tuesday, September 26, 2023
    Gold Beach Community Center
    29841 Airport Way  
    4:00p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  
     
  • Coos Bay, Oregon: Wednesday, September 27, 2023
    Coos Bay Public Library, Myrtlewood Room 
    525 Anderson Avenue 
    4:00p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  
     
  • Brookings, Oregon: Thursday, September 28, 2023
    Southwest Oregon Community College - Curry Campus, Commons Room
    96082 Lone Ranch Pkwy  
    4:00p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  

BOEM accepted public comments at the in-person open house and virtual meetings. Comments received during the comment period informed designation of final WEAs for further analysis and review for possible offshore wind energy leasing.  BOEM extended the comment period through 11:59 pm ET on October 31, 2023. To view comments on the draft WEAs please go to regulations.gov, docket number BOEM-2023-0033.

Draft Wind Energy Area Public Meeting Handouts

Maps

Visual Simulations

Credit PacWave/Oregon State University
Credit PacWave/Oregon State University

On February 16, 2021, BOEM issued a lease to Oregon State University for the PacWave South Project, the First Wave Energy Research Project in Federal Waters Offshore the U.S. West Coast.

The Federal marine hydrokinetic energy (MHK) research lease was issued to Oregon State University (OSU) for the PacWave South project, a proposed open ocean wave energy test center, to be located approximately six nautical miles off Newport, Oregon. The research lease area is approximately 4,270 acres (6.67 square miles) for a proposed 2.65 square mile-project. Lease issuance by BOEM is a prerequisite for a license from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is the Federal Agency that would approve project construction and operations.

Background

OSU submitted an unsolicited request for a research lease for the PacWave South Project, formerly known as the Pacific Marine Energy Center – South Energy Test Site (PMEC-SETS) Project, in October 2013. The project would consist of four test ‘berths’ to support the testing of up to 20 wave energy devices, with an installed capacity not to exceed 20 megawatts, to demonstrate the viability of wave energy.

Unsolicited Lease Request

In March 2014, BOEM published a Request for Competitive Interest in the Federal Register. Comments were submitted in response to the request. June 2014, BOEM published a Determination of No Competitive Interest in the area requested by Oregon State University and proceeded with the leasing process on a non-competitive basis.

Jurisdiction for grid-connected marine hydrokinetic (MHK) projects on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is shared by BOEM and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). BOEM has authority to issue leases, easements, and rights-of way and FERC has authority for the construction and operations of MHK projects on the OCS. Visit BOEM’s Regulatory Framework and Guidelines for more information on the regulatory process.

In June 2014, FERC published a Notice of Intent to File License Application and OSU’s request to use the Alternative Licensing Process was approved. Additionally, OSU filed a Pre-Application Document (PAD). OSU submitted the Final License Application to FERC in May 2019. In July 2019, OSU amended the lease request area to include the Aliquots encompassed by the project site, as detailed in the Final License Application to FERC. On August 29, 2019, FERC published a notice which (1) accepted the application for filing and (2) solicits anyone, over a 30-day window, to submit comments, a motion to intervene and protest, final terms and conditions, recommendations, and prescriptions.

On April 23, 2020, FERC issued the Environmental Assessment for the PacWave South Project along with a Notice of Availability which includes a 45-day comment period for the Environmental Assessment. BOEM's proposed action is to issue a research lease and easements for five subsea transmission cables on the OCS.

On January 19, 2020, BOEM offered the first marine renewable energy research lease in Federal waters off the U.S. West Coast. 

On January 19, 2021, BOEM issued the Finding of No Significant Impact for the MHK research lease based on the analysis in the Environmental Assessment and offered an MHK research lease to OSU for the PacWave South Project.

February 16, 2021 – BOEM Issues lease to OSU for the PacWave South Project

March 1, 2021 - FERC issues license order to OSU for the PacWave South Hydrokinetic Project No. 14616

July 28, 2021 – BOEM publishes public notice to inform of lease issuance and to define the size of lease area.

Additional information related to OSU’s licensing with FERC can be found at FERC’s website (use the “eLibrary” link and P-14616 for the “Docket Number”).