Siting, Wildlife & Environmental Monitoring
In 2016, BOEM received the first unsolicited lease request for offshore wind off CA, and a federal-state task force was formed. In 2018, BOEM published a Call for Information and Nominations for wind energy leases off CA. Interest in offshore wind continues to grow in Oregon as well. Offshore wind development on the East Coast (EC) is in more advanced stages–there is a wind farm in state waters of RI with many larger-scale offshore wind farms currently in various stages of environmental review and permitting processes, providing valuable opportunities for informing West Coast (WC) wind development. The WC has some shared and some unique features compared to the EC. On the technical side, the types of stressors associated with floating wind technologies proposed for the WC do not completely overlap with the stressors associated with fixed technologies. Offshore wind development on the WC would occur in a distinct marine ecosystem from that of the EC. While wildlife risk assessment and the tools developed on the EC can inform wind development on the WC, the unique aspects of the WC must be identified and associated risks appropriately assessed and addressed. This panel will compare the habitat and wildlife and potential risks between EC and WC and provide recommendations for moving forward, applying learnings, and identifying differences to assist in addressing risk and minimizing uncertainty for wildlife in WC offshore wind development.