BOEM Expands Offshore Wind Efforts to Oregon

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced a call for information and nominations (Call) today inviting the public to comment on leasing areas off the Oregon coast for offshore wind energy. The potential leasing areas total over 1.15 million acres at least 12 miles out from Charleston, Gold Beach, and Brookings, Oregon.

Once the Call is published in the federal register, the public will have 60 days to submit comments. The purpose of the Call is to collect information and feedback on site conditions, resources, ocean uses, and to help BOEM determine competitive interest. BOEM will evaluate the area based on the following factors:

  • Demand for renewable energy;
  • Suitability for offshore wind including seafloor conditions, water depth, energy cost, and transmission availability;
  • Maritime navigation;
  • Presence of subsea cables;
  • Commercial fishing;
  • Wildlife and habitat;
  • Submerged landforms;
  • Viewshed;
  • Tribal consideration; and
  • Department of Defense considerations.

The Call is the first of many opportunities for public and stakeholder engagement regarding offshore Oregon. Engagement is critical to assist BOEM determine which areas are suitable for offshore wind energy development and to resolve potentially conflicting uses of the area. Stakeholders are encouraged to submit information within the 60-day comment period.

BOEM also plans to announce new Calls in the Central Atlantic area, and take further steps towards leasing in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and California. While offshore wind energy development to date has focused on the shallow waters off the Atlantic coast, BOEM’s interest in leasing off the West Coast is an indication that technology has advanced to the point where wind power can be economically developed in the deep waters of the Pacific Coast Outer Continental Shelf. Stay tuned.

Beveridge & Diamond's Natural Resources and Federal Lands and Infrastructure, Project Development, and Permitting Practice Groups represent clients during renewable energy and Outer Continental Shelf project development, renewable energy permitting, and related litigation. For more information on how these developments may impact your business, please contact any of the authors of this article, or your usual Beveridge & Diamond contact.