Updates coming for US offshore wind regulations

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: Tom Russell 13/01/2023 DOI
The Department of the Interior (DOI) has announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will publish a proposed rule to update regulations for wind energy development on the US Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The proposed reforms are estimated to save developers approximately $1 billion over a 20 year period.

According to DOI, the new regulations aim to streamline overly complex and burdensome processes, clarify ambiguous provisions and enhance compliance provisions in order to decrease costs and uncertainty associated with the deployment of offshore wind facilities.

The proposed rule contains eight major components, including:

Eliminating unnecessary requirements for the deployment of meteorological buoys
Increasing survey flexibility
Improving the project design and installation verification process
Establishing a public Renewable Energy Leasing Schedule
Reforming BOEM’s renewable energy auction regulations
Tailoring financial assurance requirements and instruments
Clarifying safety management system regulations
Revising other provisions and making technical corrections

To date, BOEM has conducted 11 auctions and manages 27 active commercial leases. This includes a record-breaking sale in the New York Bight and the first-ever sale offshore the U.S. West Coast in California. I

By 2025, the Department plans to potentially hold up to four additional offshore lease sales and complete the review of at least 16 plans to construct and operate commercial, offshore wind energy facilities, which would it claims represents more than 22 GW of energy.

A notice of proposed rulemaking will publish in the Federal Register in the coming days for a 60-day comment period.