- Published: 18 November 2022 18 November 2022
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced eight draft Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) offshore the U.S. central Atlantic coast for public review and comment. The draft WEAs cover approximately 1.7 million acres offshore North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware, with their closest points ranging from approximately 19 to 77 nautical miles off the U.S. central Atlantic coast.
BOEM used a comprehensive process to identify the potential offshore locations that appear most suitable for renewable energy development, taking into consideration possible impacts to local resources and ocean users. BOEM collaborated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to use an ocean planning model that seeks to minimise conflicts. The eight draft WEAs represent a subset of the original 3.9 million acres of the Call Area that the Department of the Interior announced for public comment in April 2022.
The final WEAs may be further modified after incorporating feedback from government partners, ocean users, and stakeholders. BOEM is seeking comment on potential conflicts with the draft areas, including with a potential U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) fairway for transiting vessels, commercial fishing, a NASA danger zone, and marine habitat areas. BOEM intends to further explore these areas with the Department of Defense, USCG, NASA, and other ocean users, such as the fishing industry, to collect additional information that should be considered before finalizing the WEAs.