Creative Commons

Project Description

Winds offshore of Southern Oregon and Northern California are some of the best (strongest, steadiest, and most consistent) in the world. On June 23, 2021, Governor Brown signed HB3375 which directs the Oregon Department of Energy to study the feasibility of installing up to 3 gigawatts (GW) of floating offshore wind (FOSW) in federal waters off Oregon by 2030. This much offshore electricity could power much of Oregon, free up grid capacity to allow for additional on-shore renewables to be added to the mix, produce green hydrogen, and help achieve a carbon-free economy. 

Responsible development of FOSW will need to balance potentially competing use of space not only on the ocean but also on shore. FOSW can add many new jobs to Southern Oregon while also providing significant resilience to our local energy systems. Achieving that balance will best be accomplished by having all affected stakeholders participate in the planning and execution of the development. Through the active engagement of all parties, the long-term benefits of large amounts of renewable energy can be achieved with the minimum of short-term and long-term impacts.

Project Leader 

To join this project contact Bill Gorham

Goals

The near-term goal for FOSW in Oregon is the responsible development of 3 GW by 2030. Longer term goals could include more extensive use of FOSW to capitalize on the unique quality of our offshore wind resource. SOCAN’s goals in supporting FOSW are to expand the availability of an excellent renewable resource while ensuring the impacts from that use are minimized, equitable, properly managed, and informed by as credible data as possible. 

Connection to SOCAN Mission

SOCAN has partnered with Oregon Coast Energy Alliance Network (OCEAN) to advocate for the responsible development of FOSW, particularly the development of 3 GW by 2030. OCEAN is a community-based, cross-cultural, grassroots 501c3 non-profit educating coastal Oregon communities on the benefits, challenges, opportunities, and issues related to FOSW. They help formulate policy, collect input from local residents, tribes, organizations, businesses, and governmental agencies, provide information and resources for potentially affected stakeholders, and share this local knowledge with the federal and state agencies regulating FOSW, including the many on-shore components. 

Background Information

The Federal Bureau of Offshore Energy Management (BOEM) has authority for the development of energy resources offshore the United States, i.e. from 3 to 200 nautical miles offshore. In Oregon, BOEM has been working with the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) to collect input on resources potentially affected by the installation of FOSW. Such resources could be fish and fisheries, marine mammals, birds, and turtles, communities, tribes, researchers, and developers of FOSW and other resources among others. Development of FOSW will include installation of floating turbine platforms 20 or more miles offshore, routing of power cables to shore, construction and operation of support services such as operation and maintenance facilities, marine support services, training of technical staff, and all related ancillary activities. 

Resources