Milestone Cleared for Second Wind Energy Research Lease Offshore Virginia
BOEM finds no competitive interest in proposed wind energy research area
Contact: Tracey Moriarty
As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to create American jobs, develop domestic clean
energy sources and cut carbon pollution, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
(BOEM) announced today it has taken another important step toward issuing a wind
energy research lease to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Mines,
Minerals and Energy (DMME), after finding there is no competitive interest in
the area where the state agency proposes to conduct activities. This would be the second wind energy research
lease offshore Virginia that BOEM is considering.
DMME proposes to design, develop, and demonstrate
a grid-connected, 12-megawatt (MW) offshore wind test facility on the Outer
Continental Shelf (OCS) off the coast of Virginia. The data obtained under this lease will be
made publicly available and inform the future production of renewable energy
within Virginia’s Wind Energy Area (WEA).
“The type of data that would be collected under
this research lease is especially important to understanding the wind
potential, weather and other conditions relevant to standing up wind power
generation offshore Virginia,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau.
On Dec. 12, 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE) announced funding awards for seven proposed "Offshore Wind
Demonstration Projects" off the nation's coasts. One of the awards was
given to Dominion Resources, Inc., which partnered with DMME and others to
establish the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project. This
project proposes to build the wind test facility on the OCS, adjacent to the BOEM-designated
WEA offshore Virginia. BOEM continues to work collaboratively with DOE in
reviewing these projects.
Before the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology
Advancement Project can install any facilities on the OCS, it must obtain BOEM
approval. Therefore, DMME submitted an unsolicited nomination to BOEM on Feb.
13, 2013, for a proposal to install and operate two 6-megawatt turbines,
associated cabling to shore, and
ancillary metocean facilities (e.g., meteorological buoys).
As an initial step in the leasing process, BOEM published
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 July 30, 2013, to
obtain public input on this research proposal, its potential environmental
consequences, and the use of the area in which the proposed project would be
located. BOEM also asked whether there were other entities interested in
obtaining a renewable energy lease of the same scale within the same area
identified by DMME that would support potential wind energy development.
The public comment period in response to the
Federal Register Notice closed on August 29, 2013. BOEM received five comments in response to
the Notice, none of which expressed competitive interest in the area proposed
by DMME. The comments are available here. Accordingly, BOEM will publish a “Determination of No Competitive
Interest” in the Federal Register on Dec. 9, and will proceed with the leasing
process on a non-competitive basis. The decision clears the way for DMME to
submit a plan for renewable research activities for which BOEM will prepare a
project-specific environmental review with opportunities for public input.
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 here.
Today’s announcement follows one from Sept. 4,
when BOEM announced that Virginia Electric and Power Company (Dominion Virginia
Power) was the provisional winner of the BOEM lease sale held for the Virginia
WEA. This lease was executed by Dominion Virginia Power and BOEM in October. For more information about the commercial
lease sale, click here.
On March 14, 2013, BOEM announced a finding of no
competitive interest in response to DMME's first unsolicited request for a
research lease in the WEA offshore Virginia. This proposed project would entail
the installation of meteorological facilities within the Virginia WEA. For more
information about this request, click here.
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.