December 12, 2012

Department of Energy Awards Grant for Wind Power Demonstration Project Off the Oregon Coast

Pacific Northwest Company Gets $4 million To Assemble and Deploy Five Wind Turbines Ten to 15 Miles Offshore From Coos Bay

Portland, OR –Keeping Oregon at the forefront on alternative energy development, the U.S. Department of Energy announced today that it has awarded $4 million for a wind power demonstration project off the Oregon Coast at Coos Bay.

The money was awarded to a Washington state firm, Seattle-based Principle Power, which plans to install five semi-submersible floating foundations outfitted with 6-megawatt direct-drive offshore wind turbines. The project will be sited in deep water ten to 15 miles offshore. The company’s semi-submersible foundations will be assembled near the project site in Coos Bay to help reduce installation costs.

In May, Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Kurt Schrader and Peter DeFazio wrote a support letter to DOE saying wind power “has the potential to play a significant role as states pursue policies to increase the production of renewable energy and reduce carbon emission.”

The letter, also signed by Washington Senator Patty Murray and Representative Norm Dicks, cautioned that an offshore industry will not succeed if it is at the expense of fishermen. “This project will help pave the path for collaboration with West Coast fishermen,” the support letter reads.

The grant was one of seven awards announced by the Energy Department. The others are in Maine, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Virginia. The grants are part of the Energy Department’s broader efforts to launch an offshore wind industry in the United States. In the initial phase, each project will receive up to $4 million to complete the engineering, design and permitting phase of this award. The Department will select up to three of these projects for follow-on phases that focus on siting, construction and installation and aim to achieve commercial operation by 2017. These projects will receive up to $47 million each over four years, subject to Congressional appropriations.