Grays Harbor Wind LLC (GHW) is proposing to develop a floating offshore wind farm offshore of west Grays Harbor County, Washington (Grays Harbor). The proposed GHW Offshore Wind Project (Project) would entail construction, installation and operation of a 1,000-megawatt (MW) offshore wind farm consisting of approximately 75 floating units, each containing a floating foundation and wind turbine generator (WTG). The Project location is approximately 25 miles (21.7 nautical miles [nmi]) offshore west of Grays Harbor, at waters depths of 360 to 700 feet.
The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) was contracted by Herrera Environmental Consultants, Inc. on behalf of GHW to carry out this preliminary scoping study to evaluate baseline conditions and potential effects on fish and marine mammals from development and operation of a floating offshore wind farm installed within a designated area off the coast of Washington.
Floating offshore wind units installed in an ocean environment as part of the Project would interact with marine wildlife. This Study report provides an initial data aggregation and analysis, using publicly available data, of the Project effects, both negative and positive, on the marine environment. The scope of this assessment is limited by the fact that the Project development is presently at the conceptual level. Data on marine organisms were aggregated and evaluated; however seabirds were evaluated by Herrera Environmental Consulting and, along with bats, were not included in the scope of this study. Significant additional work is necessary to characterize ocean, seafloor, and environmental conditions; select appropriate floating offshore wind technologies; identify construction methods and locations; and assess facility locations, including electrical interconnection. Data aggregation and analysis of seabirds and bats is also needed. Evaluation of the full range of potential environmental effects would be conducted following an award of a lease from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) as part of the leasing, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)/State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) environmental review and permitting processes.
While this initial data aggregation and analysis uses best available public scientific information and current assumptions about the Project configuration, the effects discussed herein are based on the status of review to-date and may change as Project-specific details are developed.