WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

 

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Taking another run at wave energy – can it co-exist with fishing areas?

Wind energy. At what cost? Courtesy photo

Wind energy.
At what cost?
Courtesy photo

Governor Kate Brown today announced the formation of the WindFloat Pacific Offshore Wind Advisory Committee in order to identify smart solutions for Oregon’s economy through the burgeoning offshore wind energy industry.

With a $46.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to demonstrate the potential of offshore wind energy resources in the United States, Principle Power is working to deploy the first offshore wind demonstration project off the Pacific Coast. Principle Power has identified the waters 18 miles off the coast of Coos Bay as its preferred demonstration site, and Oregon must take action to secure this investment.

“This is a great opportunity for Oregon,” Governor Brown said. “The WindFloat Pacific Project has the potential to simultaneously work toward creating new energy solutions for the nation while creating hundreds of new jobs across multiple sectors here at home.

“This advisory committee will work to identify viable pathways to procure the WindFloat Project in Oregon, ensuring that Oregonians benefit from this opportunity to boost our state’s economy, increase local jobs, and responsibly preserve existing jobs, all while expanding access to renewable energy.”

The WindFloat Pacific Project will invest millions of dollars in the local economy and create hundreds of new jobs during the pilot project development phase. As the industry grows, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that there could be 8,000 MW of offshore wind deployed off the West Coast supporting more than 25,000 FTE jobs.

Editor’s note: It all sounds peachy and full of progress, but at what cost to offshore fishing areas? Fishing is a critical component to our local economy, whereas most of the income from wind energy is exported out of the area. If it damages our commercial fishing industry, it could be a net loss of LOCAL income and jobs to an already struggling coast economy.

There have been so many studies on this phenomena that it’s hard to know which one to believe. But anecdotal statements by the fishing industry aren’t complimentary – at all. There should be solid research and involvement by experts and the public. If there aren’t, the potential loss to the Coast could be unrecoverable. Currently wind power is not financially viable without massive federal subsidies. What happens when those subsidies run out? Who will clean up the mess left out there??

 

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