NY offshore wind leasing advances

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is moving closer to leasing ocean sites offshore New York for commercial offshore wind development.

On June 2, 2016, the Department of the Interior and BOEM announced the proposed lease sale for 81,130 acres offshore New York for commercial wind energy leasing.  The area available for leasing includes a Wind Energy Area designated by BOEM earlier this year.  Roughly triangular, the WEA starts about 11 nautical miles offshore Long Beach, and runs about 26 nautical miles southeast.

Under BOEM's leasing procedures, the agency published a “Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) for Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore New York” in the Federal Register on June 6, 2016.  The PSN includes a 60-day public comment period ending on August 5, 2016.

Any companies wishing to participate in the lease sale must also submit a qualification package by that date, demonstrating legal, technical, and financial qualification to participate.  To date, seven companies have qualified to participate in a future auction for the New York Wind Energy Area.

As required by federal environmental law, BOEM also published an Environmental Assessment (EA) considering potential impacts associated with issuing a lease, associated surveys, and approving the installation of resource assessment facilities in the area.  The EA is available for public comment for 30 days.

BOEM has scheduled a public seminar Wednesday, June 29, 2016 in New York City to describe the auction format, explain the auction rules, and demonstrate the auction process through meaningful examples.  Other public meetings will focus on the agency's planning and leasing efforts regarding New York offshore wind energy activities, as well as the EA.

So far, BOEM has awarded 11 commercial offshore wind leases, generating approximately $16 million in winning bids for over 1,000,000 acres in federal waters.  Previous competitive lease sales have resulted in 9 leases: two offshore New Jersey, two in an area offshore Rhode Island-Massachusetts, another two offshore Massachusetts, two offshore Maryland and one offshore Virginia.

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