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Proposed Oregon Offshore Wind Farm Downsizing

No surprise here: The proposed U.S.-backed Oregon floating offshore wind project is downsizing in a bid to get built.

WindFloat Pacific is in line for nearly $50 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to help build a project about 20 miles off the coast at Coos Bay. The plan was for a five-turbine, 30-megawatt project.

But as I reported exclusively in June, WindFloat Pacific backers failed to get a bill through the Oregon Legislature that would have required the state’s two big investor-owned utilities, Pacific Power and Portland General Electric, to buy WindFloat’s above-market-price output. That put the project at risk of losing its crucial DOE funding.

Principle Power’s Kevin Banister, the point man for the project in Oregon, had suggested that downsizing might be the best way to make the project more palatable to the Oregon Legislature and/or Oregon utilities – and now Banister is making that official.

“We’re saying now it’s an up to a 24MW project,” Banister told Recharge News. “It became clear to us that for a demonstration-scale project 30MW was a little bigger than the appetite in the state.” The developer is also asking the DOE for an extra year to move the project along. It had hoped to be in operation in 2017.

Late last month, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced formation of a WindFloat Pacific Offshore Wind Advisory Committee that will try to come up with a power purchase arrangement for the project.