Environmental Consultations and Offshore Renewable Energy

BOEM's mission is to regulate offshore renewable energy development activities in an environmentally responsible way. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorized the development of regulations for the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Renewable Energy Program. This regulatory framework requires significant site-specific research prior to the siting of offshore facilities. In addition to multiple levels of review, BOEM develops, funds, and manages a rigorous scientific research program. Biologists in OREP evaluate the impacts of proposed actions and coordinate with stakeholders and with other federal agencies. This coordination includes working with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to conduct reviews under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).

Endangered Species found in wind energy areas on the Atlantic OCS include North Atlantic right whales, roseate terns, sea turtles and Atlantic sturgeon. Sensitive benthic habitats, such as hard bottom,  are designated as Essential Fish Habitat (EFH)  for a variety of species for which impacts must be assessed under the MSA.

For all offshore renewable energy projects OREP consults with the NMFS and the FWS under the ESA, and with NMFS on EFH under the MSA. Consultations under both the ESA and the MSA inform the development of OREP’s mitigation and monitoring strategies that protect marine species and sensitive habitats.

Below you will find links to consultation documents OREP has completed in the Atlantic OCS.


OREP biologists also support a number of studies, many of which involve substantial interagency collaboration. OREP biologists work alongside scientists at the United States Geological Survey Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Sanctuaries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, academic institutions, non-government institutions, and industry.

The completed and ongoing renewable energy studies will inform our understanding of the ecology of the Atlantic OCS and improve the ability to avoid impacts from offshore renewable energy projects.  Examples include measuring noise from pile driving, assessing fish movements near transmission cables, and movements and habitat use by marine mammals, birds and fish on the Atlantic OCS. To learn more, go to:
BOEM Renewable Energy Research

The following links provide more information on renewable energy in BOEM’s Pacific region, BOEM’s national environmental studies program, the ESA and the MSA.


OREP/Environmental Branch
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Office of Renewable Energy
45600 Woodland Road,
Sterling, Virginia 20166