The U.S. Department of the Interior recently announced an important step forward for the first offshore wind project proposed for federal waters off the West Coast. DOI's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has given the green light for Principle Power, Inc. to submit a formal plan to build a 30-megawatt pilot project in a 15 square mile lease area, using floating wind turbine technology offshore Coos Bay, Oregon.
The project is designed to generate electricity from five floating "WindFloat" units, each equipped with a 6-megawatt offshore wind turbine. The facility, sited in about 1,400 feet of water, would be the first offshore wind project proposed in federal waters off the West Coast and the first in the nation to use a floating structure to support offshore wind generation in the Outer Continental Shelf.
The West Coast holds an offshore capability of more than 800 gigawatts of wind energy potential, equivalent to more than three quarters of the nation’s entire power generation capacity. The total U.S. deepwater wind energy resource potential is estimated to be nearly 2,000 gigawatts.