Solutions are always exciting! Transitioning our economy to run on clean energy is necessary but will have challenges in all sectors, urban and rural. At the same time, it presents significant opportunities to diversify our economy, especially in rural areas, and set it on a sustainable path for the future.
A good example is offshore wind energy on Oregon ‘s south coast. The IEA (International Energy Agency) published a report recently entitled “Offshore wind to become $1 trillion industry”. Although this industry is only 20 years old, the IEA attributed its fast growth to falling costs, remarkable technological progress, and the urgent need to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Another factor is that many of the best sites for wind on land have already been taken. Offshore wind, developed more recently than onshore wind, already employs 50,000 in Germany and the UK alone. The DOE (Department of Energy) states the “technical” resource potential for offshore wind is nearly double the nation’s current electricity use. DOE estimates developing just 4% of that potential by 2050 would support 160,000 jobs.
Southern Oregon Climate Action Now’s February Monthly General Meeting will feature Shannon Souza, Principal, Sol Coast Consulting & Design, LLC in Coos Bay. On Tuesday February 25th at 6:00 pm at the Medford Public Library, 205 S. Central Avenue Medford, Shannon will discuss this exciting project. The meeting is free and open to the public.
An offshore zone, 300 miles long straddling the Oregon-California border, is the sweet spot with the highest energy density along the entire west coast of the United States. Coos Bay is the largest deep draft coastal harbor from San Francisco to the Puget Sound and well suited to play a major role in the development of this unique and vital natural resource. Companies are currently planning wind farms in California waters near the Oregon border. California now requires 100% of its electricity be carbon-free by 2045 opening a vast new market nearby. This provides a window of opportunity to leverage the superior port facilities at Coos Bay and secure the construction, operations and maintenance activities for these projects. With a determined and focused effort, Coos Bay and Oregon can become a major hub on the Pacific coast for this promising new industry as it expands along the coast. Studies indicate this would create hundred and ultimately thousands of sustainable family wage jobs across a wide range of sectors.
A coalition is forming on Oregon’s south coast consisting of companies and other organizations focused on offshore wind energy, as well as citizens who want to diversify the local economy and put it on a sustainable path for the future. A link to a video of a promotional event in Coos Bay can be found on the group’s website (oswe.org). Maybe this offers a solution for the depressed Coos and Curry County economies as an alternative to the destructive Jordan Cove LKNHG export proposal.