This is a resource page that summarizes and updates readers about what’s happening in offshore wind off the West Coast.
BOEM = Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
NOAA = National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
New and notable
- The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) published the ‘Commercial Leasing for Wind Power Development on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Morro Bay, California, East and West Extensions – Call for Information and Nominations’ on Thursday, July 29, 2021, which will initiate a 45-day public comment period. BOEM will accept nominations and comments until September 13, 2021. Information on the Call Extensions and how to comment can be found on BOEM’s website at https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/morro-bay-call-extension-areas.
- Additionally, BOEM is announcing the Humboldt Wind Energy Area (WEA) designation for the entirety of the Humboldt Call Area. The Area Identification Decision Memo describes the designation of the Humboldt Call Area as a Wind Energy Area.
- The California State Lands Commission released a Draft Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) in response to two separate applications for proposed offshore wind energy demonstration projects, collectively referred to as the “Vandenberg Offshore Wind Energy Projects” in western Santa Barbara County and offshore within State waters (3 nautical miles) west of the Vandenberg State Marine Reserve.
- BOEM Oregon Offshore Wind Energy Planning Public Webinars now online. Click on “meeting materials.” (6/2)
- The Council held a marine planning and offshore development meeting online on July 22-23.
- June Council meeting: the Council decided to create a Marine Planning advisory body. Details forthcoming in newsletter (7/20).
- April Council meeting: Offshore wind issues were discussed under agenda item H2 (Update on Executive Order 13921), and during the Legislative Committee meeting. The Council approved two letters on Executive Order 14008 under Legislative Matters.
- March Council meeting: Offshore wind and aquaculture were discussed during the Marine Planning Update (3/21).
- The Council Coordinating Committee sent a letter to Department of Interior on Executive Order 14008 (Tackling Climate Change at Home and Abroad). Although EO 14008 does promote offshore wind, the letter focuses on the EO’s directive to conserve 30% of U.S. land and waters by 2030. (3/12)
- Process: The Council will be coordinating with BOEM before each meeting to learn about offshore wind and other offshore energy activities. Any announcements will be put in the next Council’s briefing book and covered in the Executive Director’s report at the beginning of each Council meeting. If needed, the Council will hold a webinar to allow advisory body discussions. (3/11/21)
- Habitat Committee meeting Feb. 24. NOAA presented information related to the identification of Aquaculture Opportunity Areas, and BOEM discussed the process of identifying potential offshore wind energy sites. A recording of this meeting is available at the link.
- New research paper: Potential environmental effects of deepwater floating offshore wind energy facilities (Ocean and Coastal Management) (4/22)
- Legislative hearing (recording), April 20: Building Back Better: Reducing Pollution and Creating Jobs Through Offshore Wind (4/19). Note: video is labeled incorrectly as having to do with oil and gas, but it is about offshore wind.
- Interior Joins Government-Wide Effort to Advance Offshore Wind
- Biden administration launches major push to expand offshore wind power. (“The White House announced Monday an ambitious plan to expand wind farms along the East Coast and jumpstart the country’s nascent offshore wind industry, saying it hoped to trigger a massive clean energy effort in the fight against climate change. The plan would generate 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by the end of the decade – enough to power more than 10 million American homes and cut 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. To accomplish that, the Biden administration said it would speed permitting for projects off the East Coast, invest in research and development, provide low-interest loans to industry and fund changes to U.S. ports.”) (3/29/21) See associated roundtable below.
- White House Offshore Wind Roundtable (YouTube video) (3/29/21)
- Offshore Wind Project off Martha’s Vineyard Nears Approval (3/8/2021)
- March 2021: Two floating wind energy projects have been proposed off California: Cierco Projects’ Floating Wind Demonstration and Ideol USA’s Vandenberg Air Force Base Pilot. The two adjacent projects would be located in state waters offshore of Vandenberg Air Force Base and Point Arguello in Santa Barbara County, California. Both facilities would have four floating wind turbines ranging in size from 10-15 megawatts (MW). The entire development will be capable of producing up to 100 MW of renewable electricity. (From Habitat Committee report 3/3/21).
- Biden-Harris Administration Advances Offshore Wind in the Pacific (5/25)
- Oregon HB 3375 was signed into law by Oregon Governor Kate Brown on June 23. The bill establishes goal of planning for development of three gigawatts of commercial scale floating offshore wind energy projects within federal waters off Oregon Coast by 2030. (6/28)
- California AB 525. Requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop a strategic plan for offshore wind energy developments installed off the California coast in federal waters by December 31, 2022. In preparation of the plan, the CEC, working with other agencies and stakeholders, must evaluate and quantify the maximum feasible capacity of offshore wind to achieve certain state goals; identify suitable sea space for wind energy areas in federal waters; develop a plan to improve waterfront facilities to support floating offshore wind energy development activities; and assess the transmission investments and upgrades necessary to support offshore wind planning goals. Moving through Senate committees (8/25).
- California SB 413. This bill would require the Energy Commission, in consultation with the Offshore Wind Project Certification, Fisheries, Community, and Indigenous Peoples Advisory Committee, which the bill would create, to establish a process for the certification of offshore wind generation facilities that is analogous to the existing requirements for certification of thermal powerplants, but applicable to offshore wind generation facilities, and would make the Energy Commission the exclusive authority for the certification of offshore wind generation facilities. This bill does not seem to be moving.
Federal legislation and information
- Biden-Harris Administration Approves First Major Offshore Wind Project in U.S. Waters (posted 5/12)
- Biden administration Fact sheet on jump starting wind energy (3/29/21)
- List of Oregon BOEM activities
- List of California BOEM activities
- Bureau of Ocean Energy Management activities by state