Government Policy & Regulation
In an overturn of a previous district court decision, a federal court has ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) were not in compliance with the Endangered Species Act or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), respectively, when they issued a lease for Cape Wind’s proposed project off the coast of Massachusetts.
The decision will not result in revokation of Cape Wind's lease. “Delaying construction or requiring Cape Wind to redo the regulatory approval process could be quite costly,” the court states. “The project has slogged through state and federal courts and agencies for more than a decade.” It also notes that the project could help contribute to Massachusetts’ increasing requirements for renewable energy procurement.
BOEM has defined three wind energy areas in federal waters between three and 200 miles offshore of North Carolina. Two of these areas are off the coast of Wilmington, while the third is to the north, near Kitty Hawk. The next step in the leasing process will be an environmental assessment of these proposed WEAs. The total area proposed for wind energy leasing off the state coast is about 307,590 acres.
By synthesizing information from regional stakeholders about the locations of natural resources and their existing uses within published wind energy Call Areas, researchers from the University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences were able to create maps that integrate new stakeholder information with existing agency data, enabling BOEM to reduce potential user conflicts within leases for offshore wind development. Project objectives were to obtain and convey spatially explicit information indicating where wind energy development can avoid or minimize conflicts with fish, fish habitat, fishing, diving, and ecotourism in the three Call Areas published in December 2012: Wilmington-West, Wilmington-East, and Kitty Hawk on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore of North Carolina.
In 2012, BOEM identified three Wind Energy Call Areas off of North Carolina, the Kitty Hawk Call Area is located near the North Carolina-Virginia border whereas both the Wilmington-West and Wilmington-East Call Areas are located near the North Carolina-South Carolina border, near Cape Fear and Frying Pan Shoals. In August 2014, BOEM announced three, fully vetted, WEAs offshore of North Carolina, in which each of the three Call Areas were reduced in size. This research project examined the seafloor and benthic communities in the Wilmington-East Call Area with some assessments focused on the smaller Wilmington-East WEA.
The purpose of this announcement, is Area Identification. BOEM has defined three Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) offshore North Carolina. The Kitty Hawk WEA begins about 24 nautical miles (nm) from shore and extends approximately 25.7 nm in a general southeast direction at its widest point. Its seaward extent ranges from 13.5 nm in the north to .6 nm in the south. It contains approximately 21.5 OCS blocks (122,405 acres). The Wilmington West WEA begins about 10 nm from shore and extends approximately 12.3 nm in an east-west direction at its widest point. It contains just over 9 OCS blocks (approximately 51,595 acres). The Wilmington East WEA begins about 15 nm from Bald Head Island at its closest point and extends approximately 18 nm in the southeast direction at its widest point. It contains approximately 25 OCS blocks (133,590 acres).
Georgia´s offshore wind resources would be able to provide high value, and high demand energy when it is needed the most: hot summers afternoons. Based on research, Georgia´s Sea Breeze effect is positively correlated with Georgia Power´s hourly electrical demandduring summertime. Therfore, offshore wind energy resources have good coincidence with electrical demand load.
BOEM prepared this Enviromental Assessment (EA) to consider the reasonably foreseeable enviromental consequences of lease issuance and, in particular, whether issuing a lease will result in significant enviromental impacts. The activities associated with the EA include 1) site characterization surveys; and, 2) site assessment activities.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced today it will participate in the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) auction for a commercial offshore wind energy lease off the coast of Long Island. More information can be found in this press release.
After a lengthy amendment process, An Act To Promote Energy Diversity (H.4377) passed the Massachusetts House of Representatives in a 154-1 vote. If approved by the Senate, it would require utilities to contract for 1200 MW of offshore wind.