Oregon Prepares to Launch the West Coast’s First Offshore Wind Farm

by , 02/10/14

Oregon, West Coast, offshore wind farm, floating turbines, deep water, Principle Power, Coos Bay, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), wind power, wind energy

The Pacific Northwest state of Oregon is already home to America’s second largest land-based wind farm — the 845 megawatt (MW) Shepherds Flat Wind Farm. Now the state has taken a big step closer to hosting the west coast’s first offshore wind farm. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) just approved plans for Seattle-based Principle Power develop five floating turbines off Coos Bay. The 30 MW pilot project will be located in about 1,400 feet of water roughly 15 miles off the Oregon coast. The reason for using floating turbine technology in deep water as opposed to wind turbines anchored to the seabed in shallow water has to do with the west coast’s narrow continental shelf.

Oregon, West Coast, offshore wind farm, floating turbines, deep water, Principle Power, Coos Bay, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), wind power, wind energy

“This pioneering project would demonstrate floating wind turbine technology capable of tapping the rich wind energy resources in deep waters offshore Oregon. As we look to broaden our nation’s energy portfolio, the innovative technology and its future application holds great promise along the West Coast and Hawaii,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement. She added that the west coast holds the potential for more than 800 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy and the potential for U.S. deep water wind energy is nearly 2,000 GW.

The project will move into the environmental analysis and public comments phase once Principle Power submits its plans to BOEM for final approval. In December, 2012, the company received $4 million in funding for the project from the Department of Energy (DOE). Principle Power was one of seven to receive funding and the only company located on the west coast. The DOE will choose three of the projects for an additional $46.6 million in funding.

There are already several east coast offshore wind projects in the works or being considered that are all in shallow water. Siemens will build 130 turbines for the 420 MW Cape Wind project off the Massachusetts coast. Also, the Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island will include five turbines generating 30 MW of electricity. The federal government has either already auctioned or will soon auction wind farm leases off the coasts of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Last year offshore wind installed capacity experienced its seventh consecutive year of record growth, with Europe leading the way.

+ Principle Power

+ Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Via CleanTechnica

Images via The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

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1 Comment

  1. Peebles Squire February 11, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Oregon is helping to pave the way toward an American energy mix that is more secure, reliable, and cleaner, too.

    Wind power can lead us to increased energy independence while reducing costs and pollution, especially carbon dioxide emissions. The 60 gigawatts of installed wind capacity at the end of 2012 already offsets nearly 100 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. Those offsets are permanent.

    The addition of offshore wind to the United States’ already impressive generating portfolio of land-based wind power demonstrates that the American appetite for finding solutions to complex problems, such as our energy future, will go on.

    For more information, visit http://www.aweablog.org

    Peebles Squire

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