On June 11, 2019, BOEM announced The Path Forward for Offshore Wind Leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf the "path forward."
Offshore wind is an abundant domestic energy resource located close to major coastal load centers, providing an alternative to long-distance transmission or development of (onshore) electricity generation in these land-constrained regions. Successfully harnessing this natural, renewable resource will require:
- Reducing potential conflicts with other uses of the ocean and seabed.
- Identifying, avoiding or mitigating environmental impacts.
- Developing a reliable supply chain for the industry.
Achieving these objectives is critical for the continued development of the existing pipeline of projects and expanding lease offerings on both the Atlantic and Pacific OCS. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) conducted a high-level assessment of all waters offshore the United States Atlantic Coast for potential future offshore wind lease locations.
BOEM sought input on the Proposed Path Forward for Future Offshore Renewable Energy Leasing on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf through a Request for Feedback (RFF) that published in the Federal Register on April 6, 2018. Comments and feedback on the proposed path forward can be found on regulations.gov at: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=BOEM-2018-0018
In response to comments, BOEM’s Acting Director announced a “path forward” on offshore wind, which can be found here: https://www.boem.gov/Renewable-Energy/Path-Forward/.
Regional Ocean Plans and Data Portals
BOEM encourages commenters to consult the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portals, which are key components of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Ocean Plans developed by the intergovernmental Regional Planning Bodies (RPB). These data portals are located at http://www.northeastoceandata.org/data-explorer/ and http://portal.midatlanticocean.org/. BOEM believes the use of the Data Portals will lead to a better shared understanding of who or what might be affected by a given proposed activity. In addition to the maps characterizing existing energy and infrastructure activities, the Data Portals contain a range of maps of marine life, habitat areas, cultural resources, transportation, fishing, and other human uses to be considered when new energy or other infrastructure developments are proposed. The Data Portals also help to identify important user groups for further engagement by BOEM during the leasing process, such as commercial and recreational fishermen, commercial transportation providers, and the military, who are most likely to interact with new offshore energy developments.