The U.S. Department of the Interior announced Wednesday that it’s considering two areas off the Oregon Coast for offshore wind energy production.
The agency has identified locations about 12 nautical miles offshore at Coos Bay and Brookings that could potentially host wind farms. The two areas comprise about 1.1 million acres in total.
The Biden administration is hoping to create 30 gigawatts of electricity-generating capacity through offshore wind by 2030. It’s already approved large projects off the coasts of Massachusetts and New York.
This is the first big regulatory step toward bringing an offshore wind project to Oregon.
Interior is seeking information and public comments on how wind development would impact marine life and other ocean uses such as commercial fishing in the Coos Bay and Brookings areas. Energy companies can also nominate specific locations they’d like to lease for offshore wind farms.
“Today’s announcement reflects years of working with ocean users, Tribal governments, and local, state, and federal agencies as we drive toward achieving the ambitious goals of the Biden-Harris administration to fight climate change and create good paying jobs,” said Amanda Lefton, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management at the Interior Department, in a statement.
Interior also identified six areas for possible development off the Atlantic Coast in Wednesday’s announcement.
Oregon is one of several locations the agency said it was targeting for offshore wind development late last year. The state has some of the best wind resources in the country and a well-developed terrestrial wind industry.
Any offers to lease waters off the Oregon Coast would require environmental review and consultations with local, state and tribal governments.
“The upcoming steps taken toward possible leasing off the coast of Oregon and Central Atlantic provides another opportunity to strengthen the clean energy industry while creating good-paying union jobs,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said.
“We will continue using every tool in our toolbox to tackle the climate crisis, reduce our emissions to reach the President’s bold goals, and advance environmental justice.”