U.S. ocean energy managers have asked for information to evaluate industry interest in leasing sites offshore Hawaii for commercial offshore wind development.
Under U.S. law, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is charged with managing energy activities on the federally controlled Outer Continental Shelf. On June 22, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that BOEM issued a Call for Information and Nominations for waters off Hawaii. The Call is designed to gauge the offshore wind industry's interest in acquiring commercial wind leases in two areas spanning approximately 485,000 acres of submerged lands in federal waters offshore Oahu. One parcel lies generally south of the island, while the other is to its northwest.
BOEM also published in the Federal Register a Notice of Intent (NOI) to Prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Hawaii Call area. The purpose of the NOI is to solicit public comment for determining issues and alternatives to be analyzed in the Environmental Assessment.
BOEM is also considering three unsolicited requests for site leases off Hawaii for floating offshore wind projects: two lease requests from AW Hawaii Wind, LLC (AWH), the AWH Oahu Northwest Project and the AWH Oahu South Project; and one from Progression Hawaii Offshore Wind, Inc. (Progression), the Progression South Coast of Oahu Project.
In other areas, BOEM has used Calls to shape the designation of Wind
Energy Areas and ultimately the sale by competitive auction of leasing rights for commercial offshore wind development. To date, BOEM’s offshore wind program has identified wind energy areas in
federal waters off seven Atlantic states (including an area off New York designated in March) and awarded 11 commercial wind
energy leases off that coast, including nine leases through competitive lease sales that generated about $16 million in
winning bids. Earlier this month, BOEM announced a proposed sale of leases for sites offshore New York.