- Published: 22 October 2018 22 October 2018
US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has announced three major developments in American offshore wind energy spanning from coast to coast. He 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.