BOEM to Conduct Environmental Review of First Proposed Offshore Wind Project in Maryland
The U.S. Department of the Interior said Monday that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) would conduct an environmental review of the first proposed wind energy project offshore Maryland, in line with the country's goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.
The Department will this week publish a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Construction and Operations Plan (COP) submitted by US Wind, LLC (US Wind). This is the 10th offshore wind energy COP review initiated under the Biden-Harris administration.
"President Biden has set the bar high for a clean energy future with ambitious offshore wind goals that will lower costs for families, create nearly 80,000 good-paying jobs and make substantive progress as we work to confront the climate crisis,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “The Department of the Interior is continuing to meet the moment as part of this Administration’s all-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis, which includes early and ongoing engagement with nearby communities.”
2,679 jobs annually over seven years
The lease area is approximately 10 nautical miles off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland, and about nine nautical miles offshore Sussex County, Delaware. If approved, the development and construction phases of the US Wind project could support up to an estimated 2,679 jobs annually over seven years.
“If approved, this project will represent another step forward to creating a robust offshore wind industry here in the United States, all while creating good-paying, family-supporting jobs,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “We are committed to using the best available science and traditional knowledge to inform our decisions and protect the ocean environment and marine life. We look forward to receiving input from our government partners, ocean users and other stakeholders, which is critical to a successful environmental review process.”
The publication of the NOI opens a 30-day public comment period through July 8, 2022 as part of the process to help BOEM determine the scope of its environmental review.
Up to 121 offshore wind turbines
US Wind wants to build and operate an offshore wind project with a total capacity of between 1,100 and 2,000 megawatts of electricity to be delivered to the Delmarva Peninsula, which could power as many as 650,000 households in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia each year.
The project proposes the installation of up to 121 turbines, up to four offshore substation platforms, one meteorological tower and up to four offshore export cable corridors, which are planned to make landfall at 3 R’s Beach or Tower Road in the Delaware Seashore State Park in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
"The NOI public comment period will help identify what BOEM should consider as part of its environmental review of US Wind’s COP. Throughout the scoping process, multiple opportunities exist to help BOEM determine the important resources and issues, impact-producing factors, reasonable alternatives and potential mitigating measures that should be analyzed in the EIS," DoI said.
During the public comment period, BOEM will hold three virtual public scoping meetings to inform the preparation of the EIS on the following dates and times: Tuesday, June 21, at 5 p.m. ET; Thursday, June 23, at 5 p.m. ET; Monday, June 27, at 1 p.m. ET