U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced three major developments in American offshore wind energy spanning from coast to coast. Continuing with the Trump Administration’s all-of-the-above energy policy, the Secretary spoke at the American Wind Energy Association’s Offshore Wind Conference and announced 1.) much-anticipated wind auction in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts; 2.) the environmental review of a proposed wind project offshore Rhode Island; and 3.) the next steps to a first-ever wind auction in federal waters off of California.
“I’m very bullish on offshore wind, and harnessing this renewable resource is a big part of the Trump Administration’s made in America energy strategy,” said Secretary Zinke. “We are always looking at new ways to increase American innovation and productivity to provide abundant and affordable energy for our homes and manufacturers. I think this is a win for America. Working together with states, fishermen and the energy industry, we are making offshore wind a reality, and these three historic announcements are proof.”
Wind Auction Offshore Massachusetts
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold the next offshore wind auction – to include nearly 390,000 acres offshore Massachusetts – on Dec. 13, 2018. Nineteen companies have qualified to participate in the auction for the Massachusetts Wind Energy Area, demonstrating continued strong commercial interest in the U.S. offshore wind market.
“The Massachusetts sale has a lot of potential for both energy and economic activity,” Zinke said. “If fully developed, the wind auction could support approximately 4.1 gigawatts of power to supply nearly 1.5 million homes. This is just one example of the importance of fostering wind energy as a new American industry.”
For more information, including a map of the Massachusetts lease areas and information provided in the Final Sale Notice, which will be published in the Federal Register on Oct. 19, visit the BOEM website at https://http://www.boem.gov/Commercial-Wind-Leasing/Massachusetts/Lease-Sale-4A/.
Environmental Review of Wind Project Offshore Rhode Island
BOEM will publish a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Construction and Operations Plan for the South Fork Wind Project offshore Rhode Island. If approved, the plan would allow construction and operation of up to 15 turbines that connect via a transmission cable to a grid in East Hampton, New York – the east end of Long Island. The project is approximately 19 miles southeast of Block Island. The notice will be published in the Federal Register on Oct. 19 and will have a 30-day public comment period closing on Nov. 19.
Call for Information and Nominations Offshore California
In what could result in the first West Coast offshore wind auction, BOEM will publish a Call for Information and Nominations (Call) to identify companies interested in commercial wind energy leases within three proposed areas off central and northern California. This is the first step towards offering a location for wind leasing.
The three Call Areas include 85 whole Outer Continental Shelf blocks and 573 partial blocks and together comprise approximately 1,073 square miles (687,823 acres). The Call will be published in the Federal Register on Oct. 19 and will have a 100-day public comment period closing on Jan. 27, 2019. For more information on the Call, including a map of the Call Areas and how to comment, please visit: https://http://www.boem.gov/California/.
Through BOEM, the Department of the Interior manages 12 active commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic covering nearly 1.4 million acres. Interior expects additional leasing offshore both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts moving forward, involving active stakeholder engagement, and providing increased transparency and efficiency throughout the permitting process. For information on the Department’s Offshore Wind Program, please visit: https://http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy/.