A proposal to build a floating wind farm off the coast of Southern Oregon took a step forward Wednesday. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Gov. John Kitzhaber announced that a Seattle developer is now free to submit plans for the project.
Principle Power submitted a request to lease a 15-mile area off the coast of Coos Bay last year.
The company wants to build a pilot project at the site. It would be testing out five floating wind turbines. Together, they would be capable of generating enough electricity to power about 30,000 homes.
Secretary Jewell says the project would be the first floating wind farm in the country. That means it will take some time to study the potential impacts.
"How they interact with the fishing industry, how they interact with the marine ecosystem, all of these things need to be understood, and they can't be understood overnight," Jewell says.
Officials say it will take at least two years to permit the project. The company hopes to have the turbines up and running by 2017.
Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network.