Panel Discussion on Offshore Wind Energy

March 16, 2022 - 6:00 PM
Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition

Offshore wind development.\Photo courtesy of NOAA.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), assisted by Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development, is analyzing the ocean off Oregon’s coast for wind energy prospects.  There is a high degree of likelihood that the first steps toward wind turbines off our shores—identifying feasible areas and issuing permits for further study preparatory to development—will begin soon.

Wind is an important source of alternative energy, and thus a tool for combating climate change, but wind turbines have environmental impacts of their own.  To consider the different aspects of this issue, Oregon Shores is hosting an online panel discussion, “Oregon Offshore Wind Energy,” on Wednesday, March 16, 6 p.m.  The event is free and open to all.

Oregon Shores board member Ed Joyce will moderate. The speakers will consider both the potential benefits of wind energy developments and the possible impacts to offshore habitats, estuaries and ports, and the fishing industry. They are:

*Shannon Souza, Executive Director of the Oregon Coast Energy Alliance, on "Coexistence by Design":  She advocates for "leveraging Oregon’s academic research and development leadership, world class ecological and energy resources, and pioneering spirit to transition from reactive permitting to proactive planning for clean coastal energy security that reflects our local priorities."

*Yelena Nowak, Director of the Oregon Trawl Commission, on concerns about the impact of offshore wind turbines on fisheries, speaking on "Climate Change and the Future of Food Security: The Fishing Industry's Perspective on Offshore Wind Energy Development":  Intensifying pressure from climate change to agricultural and food production (including availability of fresh water, quality of arable land, etc.) underscores the importance of meticulous planning of offshore wind development to avoid negative impacts to the fishing/seafood industry and its ability to remain economically viable and to preserve continued access to healthy, environmentally sustainable, and renewable protein sources for this and future generations of Oregonians.

*Joe Liebezeit, staff scientist and Avian Conservation Manager with Portland Audubon, on "Oregon's Productive Marine Ecosystem and Floating Offshore Wind Development:  A Cause for Concern or Hope?":  He will provide an overview of the incredible ecological productivity and importance of Oregon's offshore waters for a wide diversity of marine wildlife and fish. Concerns about how offshore wind development may impact Oregon's marine ecosystem and coastal habitats will be discussed. The talk will conclude by providing recommendations, developed by a wider array of conservation groups (including Oregon Shores), on how Oregon's offshore wind planning process can be improved to ensure ecosystem impacts are minimized.

*Mike Graybill, retired Director of the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, on "We Have to Shake Our Fossil Energy Habit:  Is Floating Offshore Wind in Oregon the Best Solution?":  He will provide "a strong factual understanding of the range of issues associated with the urgent need to decarbonize the global energy system...and an understanding of the issues associated with offshore wind energy."  This will enable participants to place this technology into the context of the worldwide push to transition away from use of carbon-based sources of energy.

To register for this event, go here.