Keeping up with offshore wind power developments is a full-time job. We summarized the latest happenings from each state in the Mid-Atlantic and provided links to tons of great additional information. We also put together a summary of how the federal government manages offshore wind power. Another great resource for understanding offshore wind is MARCO’s Guide to State Management of Offshore Wind Energy.
The only project in Virginia’s waters it the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advanced Project/Dominion Project, which calls for two 6-MW turbines about 22 miles offshore in 50 feet of water. The project has a Department of Energy grant but is waiting for additional clearance.
The Wind Energy Area offshore Virginia is made up of 22 OCS lease blocks and 5 partial blocks. The western edge of the area is approximately 20 nautical miles from Virginia Beach, and the eastern edge is approximately 37 nautical miles from Virginia Beach. The entire area is approximately 165 square nautical miles. See map. BOEM has a great page for Virginia with loads of information as does the U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative.
There are currently no projects in Maryland, although the governor recently passed legislation supporting future projects. A fifth Maryland Renewable Energy Task Force meeting was held on January 29, 2013 in Annapolis. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the zones delineation for the Wind Energy Area as well as discuss a Draft Proposed Sale Notice.
The Wind Energy Area offshore Maryland is made up of 29 whole OCS blocks and 4 partial blocks. The western edge is approximately 10 nautical miles from the Ocean City, Maryland coast, and the eastern edge is approximately 27 nautical miles from the Ocean City, Maryland coast. The entire area is approximately 207 square nautical miles. See map. BOEM has a great page for Maryland with loads of information of the Call for Information as does the U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative.
BOEM reached an agreement on October 23, 2012 for a commercial wind energy lease with Bluewater Wind Delaware, LLC for an area of the OCS offshore Delaware within the WEA. The exact location of this site is unclear as is the future of the project as funding has been an issue.
The Wind Energy Area offshore Delaware is made up of 10 whole OCS blocks and 17 partial blocks. It is located between the incoming and outgoing shipping routes for Delaware Bay. The western edge is approximately 11 nautical miles east of Dewey Beach and the ￼￼￼eastern edge is approximately 23 nautical miles from Dewey Beach. The entire area is approximately 122 square nautical miles. See map. BOEM has a great page for Delaware with loads of information as does the U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative.
The Atlantic City/Fishermen’s Energy 25-megawatt pilot project located 2.8 miles off the coast of Atlantic City in 35 feet of water has all necessary state and federal permits and a DOE grant. Construction is slated to begin by the end of 2013/early 2014 with installation in 2015, but funding is still an issue. The 4th BOEM New Jersey Renewable Energy Task Force meeting was held on December 18, 2012 in Trenton, New Jersey.
Another offshore wind-related project beginning in New Jersey has implications for other states. The Atlantic Wind Connection is a 7,000-megawatt-capacity backbone transmission system for offshore wind projects that will run from New Jersey to Virginia. It has been cleared by BOEM, and New Jersey just announced a port facility renovation to streamline its construction. For more information read this.
The Wind Energy Area offshore New Jersey contains approximately 43 whole OCS blocks and 34 partial blocks. The boundary begins 7 nautical miles from the shore and extends roughly 23 nautical miles seaward. It extends from southwest to northeast approximately 45 nautical miles between Avalon and Barnegat Light. The entire area is approximately 418 square nautical miles. See map. BOEM has a great page for New Jersey with loads of information as does the U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative.
The New York Power Authority (NYPA), Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and Consolidated Edison (ConEd) have formed a collaborative, working together to propose an offshore wind power project south of Long Island, approximately 13 miles off Rockaway Peninsula. The proposal includes the installation of up to 194, 3.6 megawatt (MW) wind turbines, yielding a potential 700 MW of wind energy generation. BOEM is currently reviewing the proposal.
The New York Renewable Energy Task Force met for the second time on April 3, 2012, to discuss NYPA’s request for a commercial lease offshore Long Island. BOEM has a great page for New York with loads of information as does the U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorizes the Secretary of the Department of the Interior (DOI) to grant leases on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for alternative energy projects, including offshore wind energy projects. The Secretary then delegated this authority to the Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
In February 2011 the DOI unveiled a coordinated strategic plan, A National Offshore Wind Strategy: Creating an Offshore Wind Industry in the United States, as well as announced the creation of priority Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) through the Smart from the Start Initiative. Here are the current projects with differing levels of federal approval.
The DOI through BOEM, set up a Renewable Energy Task Force in each Mid-Atlantic state. These collaborative organizations collect baseline data and bring stakeholders and government agencies together to discuss offshore wind power. Based on the work that has been underway to date through the task forces, WEAs have been identified offshore of four states in the Mid- Atlantic: Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia.
To begin looking at the environmental impacts from offshore wind construction, BOEM is preparing an environmental assessment (EA) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This initial EA is only looking at impacts to the environment from first steps to construction like site characterization and assessment surveys, and the possible installation of meteorological towers and buoys.
Because individual wind projects are required to supply detailed construction and operation plans, separate ERs and full public reviews will occur for each wind project. In addition to NEPA, other environmental legislation needs to be satisfied for each project, these include the: Coastal Zone Management Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Essential Fish Habitat), National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106), Endangered Species Act (Section 7), Clean Air Act, and Migratory Birds Treaty Act.
BOEM has a lot of authority over offshore wind, but they are not the only federal agency involved in the permitting process, the: U.S. Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, and Department of Defense all play a role as well.