Governor Kitzhaber applauded yesterday's announcement from the U.S. Department of Energy that it had selected Oregon as one of three demonstration projects receiving funding for offshore wind energy development. The Oregon project, led by Principle Power and slated for installation approximately 18 miles off the coast of Coos Bay, will be eligible for up to $47 million over the next four years.
"Yesterday's announcement is an important milestone for ocean renewable energy, and also the next big leap for cutting-edge innovation that can help us meet our energy and carbon reduction goals," said Governor Kitzhaber. "This kind of commitment from our federal, private sector, and local partners is what it takes to advance an energy future that supports a healthy economy and good jobs."
The Principle Power project will install five direct-drive wind turbines off the coast of Coos Bay. The project, which will be the first offshore wind facility on the U.S. west coast, is intended to show the potential of deep-water wind energy projects.
Earlier this year, the Governor joined with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Tommy P. Beaudreau to announce the potential project. Yesterday's announcement of funds provides more certainty for the 30-megawatt pilot project and the future of wind energy development in deep waters off the shore of Oregon.
The Governor emphasized the importance of siting and developing wind energy in a responsible manner. "As we develop domestic energy sources, we need to ensure that projects include local jobs, engage existing users of marine resources, and strengthen Oregon's legacy of environmental stewardship."
The west coast holds an offshore capability of more than 800 gigawatts of wind energy potential, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which is equivalent to more than three-quarters of the nation's entire power generation capacity. Total U.S. deepwater wind energy resource potential is estimated to be nearly 2,000 gigawatts.