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February 19, 2014

DOI Announces Key Step Forward for First West Coast Offshore Wind Project

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on February 5 announced an important step forward for the first offshore wind project proposed for federal waters off the West Coast. DOI's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has given the green light for Principle Power, Inc. to submit a formal plan to build a 30-megawatt pilot project using floating wind turbine technology offshore Coos Bay, Oregon.

Principle Power, Inc., will seek to site its project within a 15-square-mile proposed lease area. The project is designed to generate electricity from five floating "WindFloat" units, each equipped with a 6-megawatt offshore wind turbine. The facility, sited in about 1,400 feet of water, would be the first offshore wind project proposed in federal waters off the West Coast and the first in the nation to use a floating structure to support offshore wind generation in the Outer Continental Shelf.

According to the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the West Coast holds an offshore capability of more than 800 gigawatts of wind energy potential, which is equivalent to more than three quarters of the nation’s entire power generation capacity. The total U.S. deepwater wind energy resource potential is estimated to be nearly 2,000 gigawatts. See the DOI news release.

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