Virginia Proposes Offshore Wind Project to Obama’s BOEM

MarineLink.com
Monday, July 29, 2013

As part of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy development, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced today it has received a second unsolicited request from Virginia's Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) for a research lease offshore Virginia. DMME proposes to design, develop, and demonstrate a grid-connected, 12-megawatt (MW) offshore wind test facility on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off the coast of Virginia.

BOEM will publish a "Public Notice of an Unsolicited Request for an OCS Research Lease, Request for Competitive Interest, and Request for Public Comment" in the Federal Register on July 30 to obtain public input on this research proposal, its potential environmental consequences, and the use of the area in which the proposed project would be located. BOEM is also asking whether there other entities interested in obtaining a renewable energy lease of the same scale within the same area identified by DMME that would support potential wind energy development.

On Dec. 12, 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced funding awards for seven proposed "Offshore Wind Demonstration Projects" off the Nation's Coasts. One of the awards was given to Dominion Resources, Inc., which partnered with DMME and others to establish the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project. This project proposes to build the wind test facility on the OCS to the west of the BOEM-designated Wind Energy Area offshore Virginia. BOEM continues to work collaboratively with DOE in reviewing these projects.

Per DOE requirements, the information gained and methodologies established from this project will be shared with stakeholders (such as future developers, non-government organizations, and others) interested in wind energy development offshore Virginia at no cost to them.

Before the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project can install any facilities on the OCS, it must obtain BOEM approval. Therefore, DMME submitted an unsolicited nomination to BOEM on Feb. 13, 2013, for a proposal to install and operate two 6-megawatt (MW) turbines, ancillary metocean facilities, a meteorological tower or buoy and associated cabling to shore.

DMME has secured U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits and met U.S. Coast Guard requirements for preliminary work and has initiated wildlife, archeology, geophysical and geological data collection surveys in the area to inform future agency decisions.

A map of the area and a description of the proposed research activities were provided in DMME's unsolicited request for a research lease.

Publication in the Federal Register will open a 30-day public comment period. BOEM will accept public comments regarding the research lease in the following ways:

Electronically: www.boem.gov/About-BOEM/Public-Engagement/Public-Engagement-Opportunities.aspx. Click on the "Open Comment Documents" link and follow the instructions to view relevant materials and submit comments.

In written form:
Office of Renewable Energy Programs
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
381 Elden Street, HM 1328
Herndon, Virginia 20170-4817
 

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