Oregon Department of Energy Seeks Stakeholder Input on Floating Offshore Wind Development

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Stoel Rives - Renewable + Law

The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) is kicking off the stakeholder engagement part of its Floating Offshore Wind Study on January 20 at 9 a.m. As directed by HB 3375, ODOE is preparing a report on the challenges and benefits of integrating up to 3 gigawatts (GW) of floating offshore energy into Oregon’s grid by 2030, and it will submit that report to the legislature in September. A summary from the first part of the study, a literature review, should be released soon. Following the kickoff meeting, ODOE anticipates two more virtual meetings, as well as an opportunity to submit comments.

The Biden administration has set a goal of developing 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has put forward an ambitious timeline for meeting that goal. BOEM plans to designate wind energy areas off the coast of Oregon by the end of 2022 and start lease sales by the end of 2023. BOEM also worked with the state of Oregon to develop OROWindMap to assist in offshore wind planning. In July and November of 2021, BOEM designated wind energy areas (WEA) in California. California is at least one year ahead of Oregon on BOEM’s timeline, and BOEM is already taking comments as it prepares to draft an environmental assessment for the Morro Bay WEA.

ODOE’s Floating Offshore Wind Study does not directly affect BOEM’s wind area designation or leasing process. However, Oregon’s cooperation and support will be essential to any offshore wind development. The kickoff meeting will introduce the key topics identified in the literature review and provide initial feedback to ODOE’s study. The issues and challenges raised by stakeholders will influence the final report, which is likely to inform future legislation and rulemaking.

Additional information on ODOE’s study and planned stakeholder engagement, including a link to sign up for notices and emails, can be found here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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