Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Monday, Sept. 25 @ 2:18 p.m. / Environment, Ocean, Oregon
Offshore Wind Energy Open Houses Scheduled For Gold Beach, Coos Bay, Brookings This Week
Federal energy officials are holding the first of three in-person public meetings concerning offshore wind energy development in Gold Beach on Tuesday.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy and Wind Management has scheduled a second meeting in Coos Bay on Wednesday and a third in Brookings on Thursday.
These meetings come as BOEM and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development consider two call areas for offshore wind energy development — one about 13.8 miles offshore of Charleston, Oregon and the other roughly 13.8 miles offshore of Gold Beach and Brookings.
The three meetings this week are part of a 60-day public comment period that started on Aug. 15. They also come after Curry County Board of Commissioners discussed the issue last Wednesday.
Commissioners are expected to weigh in on offshore wind energy again at their meeting on Oct. 4, according to Director of Operations Ted Fitzgerald.
“I think one of the biggest parts is we want the public to be able to weigh in themselves,” Fitzgerald said.
Commissioners haven’t decided whether they will participate in the public comment period either for or against offshore wind energy at this point, Fitzgerald said.
BOEM began exploring the potential for installing floating wind turbines off the coast back in March 2020. The bureau and the state Department of Land Conservation and Development finalized a “data gathering and engagement plan” in October 2020 that outlined how the two agencies would interact with research organizations and other parties to plan for potential future leasing decisions offshore.
This interaction included more than 75 stakeholder meetings throughout 2021 that included meeting with wind industry representatives, environmental organizations and ocean user groups as well as elected officials, tribal nations and the general public. BOEM and the state department also met with the Pacific Fisheries Management Council.
In 2022, the bureau and state identified the Coos Bay, Bandon and Brookings as potential call areas and requested public feedback.
The two agencies removed the Bandon call area from further consideration due to conflict with commercial fisheries and sensitive habitats, according to information included with the Curry County Board of Commissioners’ Sept. 20 agenda packet.
BOEM published the Call for Information and Nominations for the Coos Bay and Brookings areas in April 2022 and received 278 comments by June 28, 2022.
The Brookings Call Area begins 13.8 miles offshore of Gold Beach and Brookings and extends to about 46 miles offshore, according to BOEM. The eastern boundary water depth ranges from 410 to 1,115 feet roughly. The area is about 42 miles from north to south and 22 miles east to west consisting of roughly 286,444 acres, or 448 square miles, according to BOEM.
The Coos Bay Call Area begins about 13.8 miles offshore of Charleston, Oregon, near the ocean entrance to Coos Bay, and extends to about 65 miles. Its eastern boundary water depth ranges from 394 to 722 feet. It’s 67 miles from north to south and roughly 41 miles from east to west. The area is roughly 872,8854 acres, or 1,364 square miles.
Efforts to explore Oregon's offshore wind energy potential are part of the Biden-Harris administration's goal of deploying 30 gigawats of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 and 15 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035.
The current public comment period comes as the Humboldt Bay prepares the onshore infrastructure for wind energy. It also comes as members of a Del Norte County joint powers authority focusing on economic development figure out how to get in on the action.
The meetings in Gold Beach, Coos Bay and Brookings will be held open-house style from 4-8 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The Gold Beach meeting will take place at the Gold Beach Community Center, 29841 Airport Way.
The Coos Bay meeting will be held at the Coos Bay Public Library, 525 Anderson Avenue.
And the Brookings meeting will be held at Southwest Oregon Community College’s Curry campus, 96082 Lone Ranch Parkway in Brookings.
To submit electronic comments, click here. Comments will be accepted through Oct. 1.