Interior Department Takes Key Step in Offshore Wind Leasing

February 08, 2012

Photo of offshore wind turbines at sea with a ship sailing past.

Offshore wind turbines like these may be closer to reality off the Atlantic Coast.
Credit: Siemens

The Department of the Interior (DOI) on February 2 marked a major milestone for offshore wind energy along the Atlantic Coast. DOE and its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that the department's initiative has passed a key environmental review. This approval will allow the process for wind energy lease sales off Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Virginia to move forward.

BOEM's National Environmental Policy Act assessment found that there would be no significant environmental or socioeconomic impacts from issuing wind energy leases in designated areas off the mid-Atlantic Coast. The bureau also published calls for information and nominations for Maryland and Virginia to solicit lease nominations from industry and to request public comments regarding site conditions, resources, and multiple uses of the wind energy areas. The bureau also announced the finalization of a first-of-its-kind lease form that will help streamline the issuance of offshore renewable energy leases. Financial and other terms, as well as any site-specific mitigation measures, will be added to each individual lease before it is executed. The lease form is available now and will be effective 15 days following publication in the Federal Register. See the DOI press release and the lease information in the Federal Register PDF.