SOCAN Comments on Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) offshore wind scoping

 

Alan R.P. Journet Ph.D.
Cofacilitator
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now
alan@socan.eco
541-500-2331
March 15th 2024

 

Reference BOEM-2023-0065

Colleagues:

I write as cofacilitator of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now, an organization of some 2,000 Southern Oregonians who are concerned about the climate crisis and encourage state action to address it. As rural and coastal Southern Oregonians, we live on the frontlines of the warming, reducing snowpack, heatwaves, drought and the increasing wildfire risk that these trends conspire to produce. Because of this, we pay close attention to what is happening in Salem in terms of legislative proposals and federally in terms of relevant action.

Those of us following the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are very much aware that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change argued several years ago (IPCC 2018) that it is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels.  This has become sufficiently well accepted that it has become generally identified as the target (e.g., IPCC 2023). The industrial revolution is identified as having occurred in the mid – late 1700s through the early 1800s (Wilkinson 2023). By 2018, IPCC indicated that global temperatures had reached 1⁰C above pre-industrial temperature while IPCC (2023) identified warming as then reaching 1.1⁰C above the 1850-1900 immediate post-industrial revolution average. In fact, according to NASA (2024) last year the temperature anomaly over land was already above that critical value (NASA 2024) with every month from June onwards beating historic records.

Restricting warming to the targeted upper 1.5⁰C limit was argued by the IPCC (2018) to require our collectively achieving net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 where net zero is defined to exists when “…the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere must equal the amount that is removed.  The simplest way to achieve this globally is for every jurisdiction to identify at least this as its individual goal and identify intermediate targets consistent with achieving that 2050 target.

If we are to achieve the net zero goal globally, all jurisdictions across the planet have a responsibility to undertake the most aggressive campaign possible to reduce their emissions. This involved replacing fossil fuel energy resources with renewable energy resources. Among these, of course, is wind energy.  While there is skepticism in some circles about our collective ability to achieve the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable sources, in evaluating whether renewables can replace fossil fuels Prysmian (2024) offered the conclusion: “According to renewable energy policy think tank REN21, most barriers to moving out of the fossil fuel age are political rather than practical.” This view is echoed by Inspire (2024) with the statement: “The best alternative to fossil fuels is to use all clean energy and alternative energy sources in tandem and then increase our dependence on clean energy sources as they become more efficient.” Stanford Environmental Engineer Mark Z. Jacobson (Carrington 2023) confirms these opinions by concluding: “Not only is a 100% renewables-powered world possible, it also promises much lower energy bills.” The Solutions Project, an organization spawned by Jacobson, has developed schemes whereby the United States as a whole (Solutions 2024a) and Oregon specifically (Solutions 2024b). For the nation as a whole, 100% Renewable Energy can be achieved with a contribution of 16.4% from offshore wind while for Oregon, this value is 15%. Clearly, offshore wind has a critical role to play in the state and the nation if we are to achieve net zero emissions.

In relation to the South Coast project, Basofin (2023) argued that: “Offshore wind from the Oregon Coast could provide up to 3 gigawatts of renewable electricity to the grid. That’s enough to power at least one million homes…” It’s worth noting that based on 2021 US. census data (Point2, 2022) reported Oregon contained 1,658,091 housing units so this offshore generation potential could serve over half the homes in the state.  Indeed, according to Ernst (2022), “Mark Thompson, an Oregon PUC commissioner, described southern Oregon and Northern California waters as being “the Saudi Arabia of offshore wind,” during a panel discussion at a Law Seminars International conference in April.” Of course, a web search reveals that almost anywhere on the planet where the wind blows has been designated ‘the Saudi Aranbia of wind’ by someone. Nevertheless, considering the potential for contributing to Oregon’s share of addressing the global climate crisis by transitioning from fossil fuels while simultaneously contributing to the economy of Southern Oregon coastal communities, offshore wind should not be ignored.

This, of course, is not to suggest there is no resistance to the development of floating offshore wind projects along coastal Curry and Coos County (e.g., Samayoa 2023; Morgan 2023) including those of the tribes, local fisherfolk and residents concerned about the view.

It is the conclusion of Southern Oregon Climate Action Now that the establishment of an offshore wind option along the Southern Oregon coast should be pursued with haste. However, we also acknowledge that the legitimate concerns of local residents should be given appropriate time for their resolution.

Respectfully Submitted

 

 

Alan Journet

 

 

 

References Cited

Basofin J 2023 Is Offshore Wind in Oregon’s Future? Climate Solutions. https://www.climatesolutions.org/article/2023-12/offshore-wind-oregons-future#:~:text=There%20is%20a%20possibility%20of,renewable%20electricity%20to%20the%20grid.

Carrington D 2023 ‘No miracles needed’: Prof Mark Jacobson on how wind, sun and water can power the world. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/23/no-miracles-needed-prof-mark-jacobson-on-how-wind-sun-and-water-can-power-the-world#:~:text=Add%20in%20better%2Dinsulated%20buildings,fall%2063%25%2C%20he%20says.

Ernst S 2022 Studies See Wide Range of Transmission Costs for Offshore Oregon Wind. Clearing Up. https://www.newsdata.com/clearing_up/supply_and_demand/studies-see-wide-range-of-transmission-costs-for-offshore-oregon-wind/article_c99444e4-09f3-11ed-98f7-2f9198be3d53.html#:~:text=Mark%20Thompson%2C%20an%20Oregon%20PUC,Seminars%20International%20conference%20in%20April.

Inspire 2024 What Is the Best Alternative Energy Source To Replace Fossil Fuels? Inspire Clean Energy. https://www.inspirecleanenergy.com/blog/clean-energy-101/can-alternative-energy-replace-fossil-fuels

IPCC 2018 Global Warming of 1.5⁰C Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/

IPCC 2023 CLIMATE CHANGE 2023 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/syr/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_SYR_SPM.pdf

Morgan K 2023 Concerns Arise Over Offshore Wind Energy. Midwater Trawlers Cooperative.  https://www.oregoncoastbreakingnews.com/post/concerns-arise-over-offshore-wind-energy

NASA 2024 GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (v4) Analysis Graphs and Plots. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v4/

Point2. 2022 How many households are there in Oregon? Oregon Demographics Point 2. https://www.point2homes.com/US/Neighborhood/OR-Demographics.html#:~:text=There%20are%201%2C798%2C864%20housing%20units,have%20renters%20living%20in%20them.

Pyrsmian 2024 CAN RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES REPLACE FOSSIL FUELS? Insight; Pyrsmian Group Magazine https://www.prysmiangroup.com/en/insight/sustainability/can-renewable-energy-sources-replace-fossil-fuels

Samoya M 2023 Oregon agencies support floating offshore wind project, but ask for more federal engagement. Oregon Public Broadcasting https://www.opb.org/article/2023/11/03/oregon-governor-agencies-support-floating-offshore-wind-project/

Solutions 2024a see what 100% renewable energy could look like where you live in the year 2050. The Solutions Project https://thesolutionsproject.org/what-we-do/inspiring-action/why-clean-energy/#/map/countries/location/USA

Solutions 2024b see what 100% renewable energy could look like where you live in the year 2050. The Solutions Project. https://thesolutionsproject.org/what-we-do/inspiring-action/why-clean-energy/#/map/states/location/OR

Wilkinson F. 2023 Industrialization, Labor, and Life National Geographic. https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/industrialization-labor-and-life/

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