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DOI Looking at Offshore Wind Proposals

Thursday, July 16, 2020

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The United States Department of the Interior is reportedly planning on issuing two proposed rules for offshore wind projects. The rules are expected to streamline the permitting requirements and eliminate unsolicited leasing on the outer continental shelf.

The reforms stem from President Donald J. Trump’s Spring Regulatory Agenda, which taps the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for the regulations.

“Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has identified deregulatory opportunities for reforming, streamlining and clarifying its renewable energy regulations,” the agenda states.

“With this proposed rulemaking, BOEM is considering regulatory reforms that are intended to facilitate offshore renewable energy development without decreasing environmental safeguards, including more flexible geophysical and geotechnical survey submission requirements; streamlined approval of meteorological buoys; revised project verification procedures; and greater clarity regarding safety requirements. These reforms are intended to expeditiously facilitate offshore renewable energy development in a manner that is safe, environmentally sound, and that provides fair return to U.S. taxpayers.”

© iStock.com / Ian Dyball

The United States Department of the Interior is reportedly planning on issuing two proposed rules for offshore wind projects. The rules are expected to streamline the permitting requirements and eliminate unsolicited leasing on the outer continental shelf.

Among the considerations is altering a leasing practice so that third parties can bid for an area that’s not already the subject for federal solicitation.

Any rule changes are expected to take effect either by the end of the year or January 2021, which would coincide with BOEM decision on the project dubbed Vineyard Wind, what’s considered the first large-scale offshore wind project in federal waters

Vineyard History

The Interior Department put a pause on the project by extending the environmental study in August 2019 as Vineyard Wind, valued at over $2 billion and initially slated to be operational by 2022, was proposed by Avangrid Inc. and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

The plan includes building 84 turbines 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and is slated to be eligible for a 12% tax credit from the state, a benefit that some believe ties in with the offshore wind farm’s competitive pricing options.

According to The Maritime Executive, Vineyard Wind would be situated on 160,000 acres of leased property and generate enough energy to power 400,000 homes, removing 1.6 million tons of carbon emissions from the air per year. Each of the wind turbines are to be spaced nearly a mile apart, with each of the turbines capable of generating 9.5 MW of power.

Submarine cables, situated up to 6 feet beneath the sea floor, would run from the installation to an onshore landing point. The company has noted that the route was established after an extensive geological assessment. However, in early July 2019, the Edgartown commission voted 5-1 to deny two undersea cables. At the same time, Vineyard Wind received the news that the BOEM had delayed the release of the project’s last Environmental Impact Statement.

   

Tagged categories: Department of the Interior; Good Technical Practice; Government; NA; North America; Offshore; Regulations; Wind Farm

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