Research Nomination within the WEA
On June 1, 2012, the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) submitted an unsolicited nomination for a research lease to BOEM. 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 Dec. 21, 2012 to obtain public input on the research proposal and its potential environmental consequences, and to determine whether there was other interest in acquiring a research lease for the area in which the proposed project would be located.
The public comment period in response to the Federal Register notice closed on Jan. 22, 2013. BOEM received four comments in response to the Notice, none of which expressed a competitive interest in the area proposed by DMME. Accordingly, BOEM published a "Determination of No Competitive Interest" in the Federal Register on March 15, and announced it will proceed with the leasing process on a non-competitive basis. This decision clears the way for DMME to submit a plan for renewable research activities, including siting and installation of two meteorological and ocean monitoring platforms to collect data on wind velocities, water levels, waves, and bird and bat activities.