Home > Explore News > Spatial Modeling Informs Designation of Final Wind Energy Areas Off Oregon Coast

Spatial Modeling Informs Designation of Final Wind Energy Areas Off Oregon Coast

Published on: 02/13/2024
Region(s) of Study: U.S. States and Territories / Oregon
Primary Contact(s): james.morris@noaa.gov

Map of the final Wind Energy Areas offshore of the Oregon Coast. Credit: BOEM.

In a significant step toward achieving the Biden-Harris administration's ambitious renewable energy goals, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced the designation of two final Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) offshore Oregon. These WEAs, a crucial part of the administration's plan to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 and 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind by 2035, were developed with extensive input from various stakeholders, including states, Tribes, local residents, ocean users, federal government partners, and the public.

 The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) played a pivotal role in this development, providing spatial modeling support to BOEM. NCCOS partnered with BOEM to create a comprehensive, ecosystem-based ocean planning model — a heat map of the ocean. This model, utilizing the best available data on concerns like natural resources, ocean industries, and areas of national security activities, aided in selecting the final WEAs.

Creating the spatial suitability model and using it as part of the decision making process not only provided valuable insights into the seascape and ocean region uses, but also fostered transparency and positive coordination with government partners and ocean stakeholders. Direct engagement and incorporation of feedback into the NCCOS model have ensured a more inclusive and informed decision-making process.

The two WEAs, totaling approximately 195,000 acres, have the potential to support up to 2.4 megawatts of energy production, providing power to approximately 828,800 homes. The first WEA covers approximately 61,000 acres and is located 30 nautical miles from Coos Bay, Oregon, while the second WEA spans approximately 133,000 acres and is situated about 18 nautical miles offshore Brookings, Oregon.

To facilitate the environmental review process, BOEM will publish its "Notice of Intent" to prepare an environmental assessment in the Federal Register on February 14, 2024, initiating a 30-day public comment period. Another public comment period would follow if BOEM decides to proceed with a lease sale in any of the WEAs.

For further details on the final WEAs and BOEM's notice to prepare an environmental assessment, visit BOEM’s website: https://www.boem.gov/newsroom/press-releases/boem-finalizes-wind-energy-areas-oregon


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