BOEM Seeks Input on an Environmental Assessment for Ocean Current Technology Testing Offshore Florida

04-24-2012

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) today announced the next step in evaluating a proposed lease for testing marine hydrokinetic technology offshore Florida. The bureau is making available for public review and input an environmental assessment that considers the effects of issuing a lease for testing equipment designed to use the force of ocean currents to generate renewable energy. 

“Ocean currents contain an enormous amount of energy, and moving forward to test this new energy frontier offers exciting potential to expand our renewable energy portfolio,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “In this stage of the process, we are providing opportunities for public input on the potential environmental effects of deploying this technology for testing activities.”

Florida Atlantic University applied for a lease to deploy an experimental demonstration device. This is the first lease application that BOEM has received to test ocean current equipment.

The university proposes to deploy and test various, experimental turbines. The proposed activities will inform the future deployment of commercial-scale marine hydrokinetic energy production on the OCS. The proposed lease area is 17,080 total acres and is located approximately nine to 15 nautical miles offshore Fort Lauderdale.

Based on public comments generated from a previous notice of intent, BOEM prepared the environmental assessment to consider environmental impacts and socioeconomic effects associated with issuing a lease and associated activities including surveys, installing mooring and telemetry buoys, and testing, for limited periods, equipment designed to use the Florida current to generate electricity. The Bureau found that no historic properties would be affected by this proposed project. 

BOEM will use all input regarding the environmental assessment to determine whether to issue a finding of no significant impact or conduct additional analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act.   

BOEM will hold a public information session in Florida to explain the proposed activities and provide additional opportunities for public input on the environmental assessment.  

Broward County Main Library

100 S Andrews Ave

Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301-7528

Wednesday, May 9, 2012, 2:00 p.m. EDT 

The environmental assessment, information on the public session, a map of the proposed area and a copy of the lease application can be found online at: http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy-Program/State-Activities/Florida.aspx

The notice inviting public comment is available at: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/public-inspection/index.html. Comments will be accepted for 30 days in one of the following ways:

For more information on BOEM’s renewable energy program, visit: http://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy-Program/Index.aspx.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management manages the exploration and development of the nation's offshore energy and mineral resources. The bureau seeks to balance economic development, energy production, and environmental protection through oil and gas leasing, renewable energy generation, and environmental reviews and studies