Northwest Wind Resource and Action Center
The Northwest Wind Resource and Action Center serves stakeholders in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. Contact your resource center to learn more about wind resources, projects, and information in your area.
Focus areas: Distributed wind, community wind, utility-scale land-based wind, wind and solar integration. Wind energy has a role to play in the Northwest, where the existing hydropower system can no longer serve growing power needs and 2,600 megawatts of coal facilities in the region are scheduled for early retirement and will need to be replaced before 2020. The Northwest Wind Resource and Action Center is actively engaged in several issues where inclusion of wind energy information is critical to making informed decisions that will shape our energy future.
Success Story: Offshore Wind in the Pacific Northwest: Strategies and Considerations
When the nation’s first offshore wind project came online in late 2016, it ushered in a new energy era on the east coast of the United States, but it also left many pondering how to make similar progress on the other side of the country. With contributions from the Northwest Regional Resource Center’s Offshore Wind Strategy Team (which receives funding support from the U.S. Department of Energy) and a multitude of their partners, the Oregon Department of Energy released a report that delves into this topic and outlines the necessary steps to foster the development of offshore wind in the Pacific Northwest. In May 2017, the Oregon Department of Energy published Offshore Wind in the Pacific Northwest: Strategy Recommendations, which examines the current market of offshore wind in terms of the state of the technology, regulatory practices, resource potential, and existing infrastructure.
“This comprehensive report is the result of regional collaboration between energy and planning experts in state government in Oregon and Washington, researchers at Pacific Northwest universities and national laboratories, renewable energy advocates, and the offshore wind industry,” said Diane Broad, senior policy analyst at the Oregon Department of Energy.
“The seven strategic actions recommended in the report aim to improve prospects for offshore wind development in the Pacific Northwest over the next 10 years,” continued Broad. “Some actions focus on utility engagement and transmission planning—areas that have current actions on which to build. Other actions break new ground, such as developing a port and community readiness plan to attract offshore wind developers, as well as completing a regulatory roadmap and matrix that will inform a step-by-step guide for offshore wind developers to navigate the regulatory and permitting requirements.”
Development of the Pacific Northwest’s offshore wind potential has the ability to transform the renewable energy landscape of the western United States while supporting new jobs in an innovative field that has only begun to be realized on a national level.