Obama Administration Initiates Leasing Process for Commercial Wind Development Offshore Virginia
President Obama’s State of the Union call for an “all of the above” energy
strategy, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, together with the Commonwealth
of Virginia, announced today that it is moving forward with the next step in
wind energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore of Virginia under
the “Smart from the Start” initiative to facilitate efficient and environmentally responsible
renewable energy development.
The Bureau is
publishing a Call for Information and Nominations to identify industry interest in locations within the
Virginia Wind Energy Area for commercial wind energy leases. BOEM is also
seeking public comment about site conditions, resources and other existing uses of the identified
area that would be relevant to BOEM’s potential leasing and development authorization
working closely with the commonwealth
of Virginia to facilitate the
commercial leasing process for renewable energy in federal waters off Virginia’s coast and are
building on the steps that the Commonwealth has taken to encourage offshore
wind development,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “This, along with the
completion of BOEM’s environmental assessment of leasing in the mid-Atlantic
area, are significant milestones in identifying and refining priority areas for potential offshore commercial
wind energy development.”
Commonwealth is excited about this important step forward. It is a
critical step toward making the valuable wind resource off of Virginia’s coast available for
development. We have been working hard with stakeholders and BOEM
since 2009, when two private developers submitted unsolicited bids for leases
off of our coast. We are pleased to reach this milestone today,” said Maureen
Riley Matsen, Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources and Senior Advisor on
Energy to Governor Bob McDonnell.
The location under consideration in today’s announcement —
or Call Area — was identified through consultation with BOEM’s
intergovernmental Virginia Renewable Energy Task Force, which includes federal,
state, local and tribal government representatives. The Call Area is intended to balance
the adequate protection of ecologically sensitive areas and minimize space use
conflicts while maximizing the area available for commercial offshore wind
The Call Area contains 19 whole OCS blocks and 13 sub-blocks
The western edge of the Call Area is approximately 23.5 nautical miles from the
Beach coastline and extends to an
eastern edge that is approximately 36.5 nautical miles from the same location. The
longest north/south portion is approximately 10.5 nautical miles and the
longest portion of the east/west portion is approximately 13 nautical miles.
The entire area is approximately 112,799 acres. A map of the Call Area can be
found at: http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy-Program/State-Activities/Virginia.aspx.
use industry responses to this Call to gauge specific interest in the commercial
development of wind resources in the Virginia Wind Energy Area. Depending on the responses received, the Bureau may
proceed with the competitive or noncompetitive leasing process. Both leasing
processes would include additional opportunities for public input and thorough
recently completed the Commercial Wind
Lease Issuance and Site Assessment Activities on the Atlantic Outer Continental
Shelf Offshore New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia - Environmental
Assessment and determined that there would be no significant impacts
associated with issuing leases in the Wind Energy Areas offshore New Jersey, Delaware,
Maryland and Virginia. The Call Area for Virginia
is the preferred alternative considered in the Environmental
Assessment as described in Alternative E, which excludes blocks that were
identified by the Virginia Port Authority, American Waterways Operators and the
United States Coast Guard as posing a potential risk to navigational safety. The
Environmental Assessment is available at: http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy-Program/Smart-from-the-Start/Index.aspx.
public is encouraged to provide any additional information about site
conditions, resources and multiple uses in the Call Area that may assist BOEM
in identifying any potential concerns associated with the area. Proposed
offshore wind projects will receive comprehensive, site-specific analysis under
the National Environmental Policy Act.
notice is available for today through the Federal
Register at: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/index.html. Submissions of interest and public
comments must be submitted within 45 days of publication in the Federal Register in one of the following
- Electronically: http://www.boem.gov/About-BOEM/Public-Engagement/Public-Engagement-Opportunities.aspx
on the “Open Comment Documents” link and follow the instructions to submit
public comments and to view supporting and related materials.
mail: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Office of Renewable Energy
Programs, 381 Elden Street, HM 1328, Herndon, VA 20170.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) promotes energy
independence, environmental protection and economic development through
responsible, science-based management of offshore conventional and
renewable energy resources.