Are Offshore Wind Turbines Coming to WA State Coasts? Maybe
This week, Governor Jay Inslee announced WA state has formed a partnership with a non-profit group called Washington Maritime Blue, to push the development of offshore wind turbine technology.
Will there be offshore wind turbines along WA coastlines?
Washington Maritime Blue is a group of investors and other individuals who are seeking to create a climate-friendly maritime (ocean) industry. The Blue Wind project involves WA state helping to design, manufacture, and transport the equipment needed to install and operate offshore wind turbines.
Various sources report Washington Maritime Blue is looking at wind turbines off the Oregon and CA coasts. According to information released by the Governor's office, unlike similar projects on the East Coast, the depth of the Pacific Ocean floor makes attaching these to the actual ocean floor impossible.
This new project calls for various types or designs of floating, even partially submerged units. They would still be anchored to the floor, and utilize self-balancing technology.
Inslee's article says two developers have submitted lease requests to the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. That's the agency that oversees offshore wind permitting.
However, on the topic of whether these turbines would actually be installed off WA coastlines, Inslee's article said this:
"But there are important, unanswered questions about offshore wind in Washington specifically. We need to better understand potential impacts to the ocean environment and fisheries. Treaty-reserved rights must be protected. The technology must also pencil out to be profitable, and there are substantial costs to transmit energy back to shore."
Initially, it sounds as if Inslee wants WA state to be involved in the design and manufacture of the turbines, but not actually putting off WA coasts.
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Gallery Credit: Liz Barrett Foster