Wind Energy Development Site Up for Lease

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 The wind is moving in the right direction. On June 2, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced it will offer 81,130 acres of federal waters for lease for offshore wind energy development off the Rockaways, which would be enough to support a large scale commercial wind project.

The Department of Interior’s BOEM published a Proposed Sale Notice for Commercial Leasing for Wind Power to the Federal Register on June 6, as well as an Environmental Assessment (EA) which considers potential impacts associated with the lease. The area up for lease is off the coast of Rockaway and about 11 miles south of Long Beach. This area was identified by the BOEM as a Wind Energy Area (WEA) on March 16 and is one of 12 Atlantic sites identified by BOEM as WEA’s potentially suitable for development.

“This is another major step in broadening our nation’s energy portfolio, harnessing power near population centers on the East Coast,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in a press release. “Offshore wind power marks a new frontier in renewable energy development, creating the path for sustainable electricity generation; job creation, and strengthening our nation’s economic competitiveness. I am optimistic about New York’s renewable energy future, as we work toward harnessing the enormous resource potential of wind energy offshore the Empire State.”

The Proposed Sale Notice document for the New York site provides detailed information about the lease area, the proposed lease provisions and conditions, auction details and lease execution. It is open to public comment for 60 days and interested companies will have until August 5 to submit a lease qualification package, before a Final Sale Notice is published, which will have details on the time and date of the lease sale. BOEM hopes to hold an auction by the end of the year. The Proposed Sale Notice can be found by searching “BOEM-2016-0027” and the EA can be found by searching “BOEM-2016-0038” on the Federal Register at www.regulations.gov.

So far seven companies have qualified, including a NYPA-LIPA-ConEd group, Beautiful Earth Partners, Deepwater Wind, EDF, Fishermen’s Energy, Energy Management Inc and Sea Breeze Energy. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has also expressed interest in qualifying.

BOEM will hold four public meetings in late June to provide a rundown of the EA findings and to allow for public comment. These meetings include Long Branch, N.J. (June 20), Hempstead, N.Y. (June 21), West Hampton Beach, N.Y. (June 22), and Narragansett, RI (June 23). Specific information about each meeting and more information about the Proposed Sale Notice and Environmental Assessment can be found at www.boem.gov/New-York/

This proposed wind development sale falls in line with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard, which he announced earlier this year, establishing a goal for the state to source 50 percent of New York’s electric energy from renewables by 2030.

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