BlueGreen Alliance | Offshore Wind in Oregon

The realities of Oregon’s ocean will require us to use floating offshore wind, an emerging technology being pioneered in Scotland and Portugal to harness wind energy. The wind turbines can be built and assembled on land and then towed to the offshore installation site. California will be the first location in the United States to utilize this technology. This will require a skilled workforce for the development, manufacturing, staging, construction, and operations. Additional offshore wind related jobs include: 

  • Transmission and submerged cables: Installation of a submerged coastal cable, substations, and regional transmission will be critical work to ensure power generated gets to a regional transmission with related transmission upgrades.
  • Shipbuilding and maintenance: The transport of cables, massive floating turbines, and other equipment will require a host of new ships being able to support initial construction and on-going operation and maintenance work in the Southern Oregon coast and along the west coast. Additionally, the emergence of autonomous submerged vehicles provides new and emerging work.

If done the right way, offshore wind presents an opportunity to help Oregon meet its clean energy goals and create shared prosperity with long-term community benefits. To make the most of offshore wind, we must encourage leaders to take a high-road approach, and now is the time to start engaging in the process.

The Process

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) selects specific areas off our coast for development, leasing those areas to developers through an auction that can provide benefits to local communities and workers. Then a rigorous federal and state review process of siting and permitting is started before projects can be built.

BOEM has been doing engagement and technical work for years to select a site off of the Oregon Coast. They released the draft “Call Areas” (the selection of areas for consideration for development) off the coast of Coos Bay and Brookings for public comment. Next they will release “Wind Energy Areas” (the selection of specific areas for development) within those Call Areas for further public comment.

Opportunities for Engagement & Timeline 

Event What Happens Opportunity to Shape
WIND ENERGY AREAS – Selection of specific areas for development off Coos Bay & Brookings (~2 years).
  • Federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental assessment.
  • State review of NEPA assessment for consistency with Oregon Coastal Management Program (OCMP)
  • Public comment on draft Wind Energy Areas. This is the selection of smaller areas for potential development, reducing environmental impacts and impacts on other ocean activities.
    FEDERAL LEASE AUCTION – BOEM auctions an area of ocean for a potential project (~1-2 years).
  • Winners secure lease to begin assessing projects within Wind Energy Areas.
  • Past auctions have given weighted preference to buyers that have made commitments toward responsible development.
  • Public comment on proposed sale notice. Previous auctions have supported high road development by rewarding developers that commit to Community Benefit Agreements, Workforce Training, and using a domestic supply chain.
    SITE ASSESSMENT– Federal multi agency environmental and technical assessment (up to 5 years).
  • A site-specific evaluation looking at the environmental, geological, and archeological date, as well as feasibility of development.
  • Opportunity to address project-specific environmental, cultural, and economic impacts, as well as transmission and port infrastructure through federal and state siting and permitting processes.
    CONSTRUCTION & OPERATIONS – Comprehensive plan submitted that details all facilities and activities related to the project (3 years).
  • Developer submits Construction and Operations Plan (COP) for federal environmental and technical review.
  • State review for consistency with Coastal Zone Management Act and OCMP
  • Opportunity to address project-specific environmental, cultural, and economic impacts, as well as transmission and port infrastructure through federal and state siting and permitting processes.

    Join the Coalition

    We are a coalition of labor and worker advocates who support responsible, high-road development of wind energy off Oregon’s coast. We represent over 300,000 workers across the state ready to get to work to build our clean energy future.

    Interested in supporting this vision? Join our coalition today!

    Join our Coalition