BOEM Announces Potential Research Lease Offshore Virginia

Agency Provides Opportunity for Public Comment

2012-12-20 WASHINGTON

Contact: Tracey Moriarty, 703-787-1571
tracey.moriarty@boem.gov

As part of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy to expand domestic energy development, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced today it has received an unsolicited request for a research lease in the Wind Energy Area (WEA) off Virginia identified for commercial wind leasing. The research would inform future renewable energy production within and around the WEA off Virginia. BOEM seeks public input on the research proposal.

Virginia's Department of Mines Minerals and Energy submitted the request to conduct wind energy-related research activities, including installation of two meteorological and ocean monitoring platforms to collect data on wind velocities, water levels, waves, and bird and bat activities. 

BOEM will publish a "Public Notice of an Unsolicited Request for an OCS Research Lease, Request for Competitive Interest, and Request for Public Comment" in the Federal Register on Dec. 21 to obtain public input on the research proposal, its potential environmental consequences, and the use of the area in which the proposed project would be located. BOEM is also asking whether there are federal agencies or state entities interested in obtaining a research lease within the same area identified by DMME that would support potential wind energy development.

Publication in the Federal Register will open a 30-day public comment period, which ends on Jan 22.

The publication follows last month's announcement, when BOEM published in the Federal Register a Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) to auction a commercial lease in the 112,800 acres that form the Wind Energy Area offshore Virginia.  The public comment period for the PSN ends on Feb. 1.  For more information about the PSN, click here.

BOEM will accept public comments regarding the research lease in one of the following ways:

Electronically: http://www.boem.gov/About- BOEM/Public-Engagement/Public- Engagement-Opportunities.aspx. Click on the "Open Comment Documents" link and follow the instructions to view relevant materials and submit comments. 

In written form, deliver to:

Office of Renewable Energy Programs
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
381 Elden Street, HM 1328
Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817

A map of the area and a description of the proposed research activities were provided in DMME's unsolicited request for a research lease, which is available at http://www.boem.gov/Renewable- Energy-Program/State- Activities/Virginia.aspx.

For more information about Department of Interior's "Smart from the Start" program go tohttp://www.boem.gov/Renewable- Energy-Program/Smart-from-the- Start/Index.aspx.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) promotes economic development, energy independence, and environmental protection through responsible, science-based management of offshore conventional and renewable energy development.