In a meeting of top energy planners at the federal and state levels in Portland, it was announced Wednesday that the federal government will be leasing an offshore location in federal waters off Coos Bay for the development of a wind power research, design and testing well offshore beyond the three mile state limit.
The plan is to accelerate the design and testing of five large wind energy turbines which will float high off the water, capturing some of the best energy-rich winds in the world. The test site, located 15 miles offshore from Coos Bay, involves five giant wind turbines all feeding one single power line to shore. Once the technology is established and approved, the design could be used around the world, certainly off U.S. shores. It’s the first offshore wind operation along the U.S. West Coast.
The test project was approved and is expected to be in full test mode in as little as two years. Lincoln County Commissioner Terry Thompson said that the testing operation will have fishing industry representatives directly involved in the process. Thompson said the test site would likely affect fishing access to whiting, shrimp and trawler fishing in the immediate vicinity.
Wind turbines at sea are still not cheap to operate but they capture ocean winds which blow harder and longer than on land and the wind turbines are virtually invisible from shore.