Offshore renewables go West

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August 15th, 2013

The US federal government is preparing to kick off the first ever leasing process for wind and marine renewables off the West Coast.

A request for competitive interest off Oregon is due to be published by the Bureau for Ocean Energy Management in the coming weeks, although the exact timing has yet to be finalized.

Feedback from stakeholders as well as rival developers is being sought in connection with separate unsolicited applications from Principle Power and the Pacific Marine Energy Center.

A determination of no competitive interest will clear the way for consideration of each project by BOEM and, for PMEC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Interest from rival developments could spark a competitive leasing process.

Principle Power filed its application in support of the WindFloat Pacific project, which will feature five Siemens 6MW turbines on semisubmersible foundations around 15 nautical miles off Coos Bay.

The paperwork is seeking control over parts of four outer continental shelf blocks totalling around 15 square miles. Construction is planned to kick off around 2016 ahead of commercial operations the following year.

PMEC is seeking to establish a marine renewables test facility off Newport and Waldport, some five nautical miles offshore in waters between 58 and 75 metres deep.

The test site will host up to four berths and 10 total devices with a combined capacity of up to 10MW. Installation is planned for 2015/16 on parts of four OCS blocks totalling 34 square miles.

PMEC partners include the Department of Energy, Oregon Wave Energy Trust, Oregon State University, University of Washington and the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center.