Offshore Wind Planning on the West Coast

There is increasing interest in offshore wind energy development in the United States. President Biden announced in 2021 that the federal government would seek to add 30 GW of energy generated by offshore wind to the grid by 2030, and while the East Coast currently leads the way in U.S. offshore wind development, the offshore wind resources of the West Coast will be necessary to meet this target. Inclusive and transparent planning processes can help ensure that all interested and potentially affected parties have a venue to interact with decision-makers and share their thoughts as development of offshore wind is considered on the West Coast.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is the federal agency responsible for for issuing leases for renewable energy projects on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), and they have a Renewable Energy Authorization Process that they engage in before any decisions about leases are made in an area. BOEM must coordinate with governmental partners for this process, and the primary way that they do so is through Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Forces. These Task Forces consist of federal agencies, state governments, local governments and federally recognized tribes; there are currently fourteen Task Forces in the United States.


Oregon established an Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force with BOEM in 2010, which held its first meeting in 2011. Beginning in 2014, meetings were paused for several years until September 2019. At this September 2019 meeting, BOEM and the State of Oregon announced their intention to begin an offshore wind planning process, which could take several years to complete and eventually culminate in the construction of offshore wind operations off the coast of Oregon (depending on input from state, local, and tribal governments, and stakeholders).

To find more information on the ongoing offshore wind planning process in Oregon, visit the Task Force page and explore more of OROWindMap, which was created in support of the BOEM Oregon Task Force and its data gathering and engagement process.


California established an Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force with BOEM in 2016. There are currently two renewable energy efforts underway offshore California, and both are undergoing environmental review as required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

To find more information on the ongoing offshore wind planning process in California, visit the Task Force page and the Offshore Wind Energy Gateway, which is a map viewer that supports the planning process in California just as OROWindMap does for Oregon.


Washington is not engaged in a Task Force with BOEM at this time, and does not currently have a specific tool to support an offshore wind planning process. Through their existing Marine Spatial Planning Tool, however, one can view spatial data layers related to 'Energy Suitability,' including wind energy suitability layers for different technologies, derived from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory report “Geospatial Analysis of Technical and Economic Suitability for Renewable Ocean Energy Development on Washington's Outer Coast”.