Offshore wind

BOEM Finalizes Wind Energy Areas in Oregon

The areas are expected to have the potential to supply 2.4 GW of clean renewable energy.

3D Rendering of Giant wind turbines farm located in the open sea, sunset shot. Concept of renewal energy using windmills
Source: vice_and_virtue/Getty Images

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the designation of two final Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) offshore Oregon. The WEAs were developed following extensive engagement and feedback from the state, Tribes, local residents, ocean users, federal government partners, and other members of the public. The final WEAs are based on reducing potential conflicts of ocean users, particularly on commercial fishing.

The two WEAs total approximately 195,012 acres, and they avoid 98% of the areas recommended for exclusion because of their importance as commercial fishing grounds. The Coos Bay WEA is 61,204 acres and is 32 miles from shore. The Brookings WEA is 133,808 acres and is about 18 miles from shore.


“BOEM values its close coordination with the state of Oregon as we continue to work together to maintain a robust and transparent offshore wind planning process,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “We will continue to work closely with Tribal governments, federal and state government agencies, ocean users, coastal communities, and all interested stakeholders as we move forward with our environmental review.”

On 14 February, BOEM published a notice in the Federal Register announcing its intent to prepare an environmental assessment of potential effects from offshore wind leasing in the WEAs. The notice initiated a 30-day public comment period. Another public comment period will occur if BOEM decides to move forward with a lease sale in either of the WEAs.

In addition to engaging with the state, Tribes, coastal communities, and ocean users, BOEM partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) to assess opportunities for wind energy development and reduce or avoid effects on other important ocean uses in Oregon. The agencies developed a comprehensive, ecosystem-based ocean planning model that leverages the best available data on natural resources, ocean industries such as fisheries and energy production, and areas of national security activities to identify areas with high wind energy resource potential and fewer potential effects to other ocean users and sensitive environmental resources. This comprehensive approach provided valuable insights about the seascape and its uses and facilitated greater transparency and positive coordination with government partners and ocean stakeholders through direct engagement and incorporation of their feedback into the NCCOS model.

On 15 August 2023, BOEM announced a public comment period on two draft WEAs located offshore southern Oregon. The draft WEAs covered approximately 219,568 acres, with their closest points to land ranging from approximately 18–32 miles. The draft WEAs represented a subset of the original 1,159,298 acres (1,811 square miles) that the Department of the Interior identified for public comment in April 2022.

Since the start of the Biden/Harris administration, the Department of the Interior has approved the nation’s first six commercial-scale offshore wind energy projects. BOEM has held four offshore wind lease auctions, which have brought in almost $5.5 billion in high bids, including a record-breaking sale offshore New York and New Jersey and the first sales offshore the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts. BOEM is exploring additional opportunities for offshore wind energy development in the US, including in the Gulf of Maine and the US Central Atlantic coast. The Department also continues to take steps to evolve its approach to offshore wind to drive toward union-built projects and a domestic-based supply chain.