NY offshore wind zone announced

Thursday, March 24, 2016

U.S. ocean energy regulators are advancing plans to lease sites off New York for potential commercial wind energy development.  The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's designation of a Wind Energy Area could ultimately lead to the development of one or more offshore wind energy projects off Long Island.

While the U.S. still is not home to any operating commercial offshore wind projects, BOEM has issued 11 commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast.  Leases awarded include two offshore New Jersey, two offshore Rhode Island-Massachusetts, another three offshore Massachusetts, one offshore Delaware, two offshore Maryland and one offshore Virginia.

In 2011, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) applied to BOEM for a commercial wind lease.  At that time, the public power authority proposed installing up to 194 wind turbines, each generating 3.6 megawatts, for a total project capacity of nearly 700 megawatts.

In January 2013, BOEM issued a Request for Interest to assess whether any other entities were parties interested in developing commercial wind facilities in the same area.  BOEM's review of the nominations of interest it received in response, including indications of interest from Fishermen’s Energy, LLC and Energy Management, Inc., led the agency to determine that there was competitive interest in the area.  As a result, BOEM initiated its competitive leasing process.

In 2014, BOEM published in the Federal Register a Call for Information and Nominations and a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Assessment, and has held stakeholder meetings.

The process took a step forward on March 16, 2016, when BOEM announced that it had completed the Area Identification process to delineate a Wind Energy Area (WEA) offshore New York. The wedge-shaped area covers approximately 127 square miles (81,130 acres, or 32,832 hectares), beginning about 11 nautical miles south of Long Beach, and extending about 26 nautical miles southeast along its longest portion.

Next steps in the offshore wind leasing process might include BOEM's publication of a Proposed Sale Notice for public comment, along with environmental assessment (EA) and agency consultations, followed by publication of a Final Sale Notice that announces the date, time, and specific conditions of the auction.  According to BOEM, its environmental review is expected to be completed later this year.

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