This week Surfrider Foundation's Oregon Chapter network, joined by our Humboldt Chapter in northern California, filed comments on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) draft Wind Energy Areas off the southern Oregon coast. As part of the ongoing planning process to meet the Biden-Harris administration's goal of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy development in the United States by 2030, the Bureau has been engaged in a multi-year effort to identify appropriate areas for lease sales off the Oregon coast where wind resources are favorable for development. Surfrider, in response to both the Call and now the draft Wind Energy Areas, has been conducting extensive outreach with our members, volunteers and partners to appropriately respond to the Bureau's requests for information and stakeholder interests during this early, yet critically important stage of planning - read more on those outreach efforts and what we heard here.
The above image depicts the size and some of the necessary components for offshore wind developments. Across hundreds and thousands of acres of ocean, the scale of the development needs for offshore wind rose to the top of the concerns of our Oregon chapter leadership in a recent survey we conducted as part our outreach on the draft Wind Energy Areas in Oregon. That survey further revealed wildlife conflicts like whale and bird migration, where also high on our recreational audience concerns. And not surprisingly, particularly given the wild and scenic nature of Oregon's coast and our estuaries, the development's onshore also rose as a top concern in our chapter survey and outreach to recreational users, more on that below.
On the more positives potentials for offshore wind development, our Oregon membership felt that need to shift away from fossil fuels and meet renewable energy goals were among the most important reasons to pursue resource tradeoffs in the ocean. Still, firmly aligned behind many existing ocean users, our membership felt the need to proceed extremely incrementally and cautiously the Oregon way.
Read: Surfrider Foundation's Oregon and Northern California Chapters' Comments on BOEM's Draft Wind Energy Areas.
Surfrider Foundation's comments focus heavily on nearshore resources and the need for early planning to accommodate on-shoring needs. This is particularly important for our Coos Bay and Humboldt Chapters where offshore wind developments will likely need major port developments, some proposed as highly destructive to current estuary and nearshore recreational resources. To cover our members wildlife and oceanographic and ecological concerns, Surfrider supported and signed on to the development of comments from a broader wildlife ocean coalition.
Read: Oregon Conservation Coalition Comments on BOEM's Draft Wind Energy Areas.