Offshore Renewable Energy Planning

The Takeaway: The Oregon Coastal Management Program will help ensure that ocean uses and natural resources are considered in wave energy plans.

To encourage offshore renewable energy projects in areas that pose the least conflict with existing ocean uses and natural resources, Oregon developed a marine spatial plan. This new chapter of the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan identifies four “renewable energy suitability study areas” where wave energy projects will be encouraged.

The marine spatial planning process included over 100 public meetings held by Oregon’s Ocean Policy Advisory Council, the Territorial Sea Plan Working Group, and the Department of Land Conservation and Development. This work resulted in helpful input from a broad range of constituents and changes to the territorial sea plan.

Under the revised plan, wave energy development proposals in Oregon’s waters must meet state standards for protecting ecological resources, commercial fishing interests, recreational uses, and coastal views. In the four prescribed areas, however, there will be fewer permitting obstacles to overcome because the marine spatial planning process found these areas to be the most suitable for this type of development. To accelerate the development of wave power, the state invested more than $10 million in the Oregon Innovation Council’s Oregon Wave Energy Trust to fund research and other projects.

Since projects outside state waters can also have negative impacts, the state developed a “geographic location description” for a portion of the federal waters. This designation allows the state to review renewable energy activities to ensure compliance with the state policies approved by the Oregon Coastal Management Program. (2016)

Partners: Aquatera, Bonneville Power Administration, Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management, Coquille Indian Tribe, Ecotrust, Natural Equity, NOAA Center for Coastal Monitoring and Assessment Biogeography Branch, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center, Oregon Coastal Management Program, Oregon Wave Energy Trust, Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association, Oregon Department of Energy, Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of State Lands, Oregon Military Department (Camp Rilea), Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon State Legislature Coastal Caucus, Oregon State University, Oregon Water Resources Department, Oregon Wave Energy Trust, Our Ocean, Packard Foundation, Parametrix, Ports of Coos Bay and Newport, Surfrider, The Moore Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service