US Moves Closer to Oregon (Floating) Offshore Wind Lease Sale

(OW) The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has identified two draft Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) offshore southern Oregon with which the federal agency plans to move forward and offer them in a lease sale, expected to take place in the first quarter of 2024.

Avangrid, Ocean Winds, BlueFloat Energy, and Mainstream Renewable Power, as well as a joint venture between TotalEnergies and Simply Blue Group, have already expressed interest in building floating wind farms offshore Oregon.

The two draft WEAs can accommodate up to 2.6 GW of offshore wind capacity which, given the deep waters in this US region, is expected to be installed using floating wind technologies.

At the beginning of last year, BOEM identified three Call Areas in federal waters offshore Oregon with a total installed capacity potential of 17 GW and started narrowing them down into Wind Energy Areas.

After revising the broader areas, in April 2022, BOEM issued a Call for Information and Nominations for two Call Areas, gathering feedback from the public, stakeholders, and other agencies – and inviting responses from developers interested in building wind farms offshore Oregon.

These initial two areas spanned 1,158,400 acres and saw nominations being submitted by four developers including Avangrid, BlueFloat Energy, Ocean Winds, and Mainstream Renewable Power, according to information available on BOEM’s website. In June last year, a joint venture between TotalEnergies and Simply Blue Group, Deep Blue Pacific Wind, also said that it responded to the Call, nominating three areas.

The two Oregon Call Areas have been further narrowed down since then to delineate sites to be offered in the first lease sale which is expected to be organised in early 2024.

The draft WEAs for the lease sale cover approximately 219,568 acres and are located within the borders of the two previously defined Call Areas.

BOEM has now opened a 60-day public review and comment period for the two WEAs to gather public input that will be considered before formally designating final WEAs off the coast of Oregon.

“At the request of Oregon’s governor and other state officials, there will be a 60-day public comment period on the draft WEAs and BOEM will hold an intergovernmental task force meeting in addition to public meetings during the comment period”, said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein“We look forward to working with the state to help us finalize offshore areas that have strong resource potential and the fewest environmental and user conflicts”.

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