White House Summit on Offshore Wind

In: Windfarms
Yesterday the White House played host to a Summit on Offshore Wind, a gathering of leading federal, state and industry stakeholders committed to the long-term and sustainable development of offshore wind in the United States. By 2030, offshore wind is projected to supply 22,000 megawatts of clean and abundant energy to cities and communities in America enough to power 4.5 million homes.

In addition, the White House is announcing the following actions in support of the development of offshore wind:

Establishing a White House Interagency Working Group on Offshore Wind: Offshore wind will play an integral role in our future energy portfolio. It is therefore critical that the federal government work with states and other key stakeholders to ensure the responsible development of this technology. The Interagency Working Group will ensure effective coordination among federal agencies working on offshore wind.  

Facilitating State Collaboration in the Northeast. The Department of Energy (DOE) is funding a multi-state project with New York, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which will produce a regional roadmap for offshore wind. The roadmap will lay out a cooperative path to develop offshore wind at the large-scale level of deployment needed to achieve economies of scale and establish a regional supply chain with high-quality local jobs.

Establishing an International Offshore Wind Regulators Forum.DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has begun discussions with offshore wind regulators in the United Kingdom, Denmark and Germany regarding the establishment of an International Offshore Wind Regulators Forum. BOEM aims to establish a multilateral group to discuss ways to responsibly expand offshore wind in the U.S. and around the globe. The group will focus on sharing lessons learned, discussing regulatory approaches and best practices, and exchanging scientific and environmental information.

BOEM Lease Auctions in North Carolina and New Jersey. BOEM recently announced the following two significant actions with respect to its renewable energy leasing program.

North Carolina. On September 17, 2015, BOEM announced it had completed an important environmental review of three Wind Energy Areas, which total approximately 307,590 acres, offshore North Carolina.

New Jersey.
On September 25, 2015, BOEM published a Final Sale Notice announcing that it will offer approximately 344,000 acres offshore New Jersey for commercial wind energy leasing.  

These actions build upon BOEM’s recent activities to oversee responsible development of offshore renewable energy resources. BOEM has awarded nine commercial wind leases, including seven through its competitive lease sale process (two offshore Rhode Island-Massachusetts, two offshore Massachusetts, two offshore Maryland and one offshore Virginia). To date, competitive lease sales have generated more than $14.5 million in winning bids for over 700,000 acres in federal waters.

Updating the National Offshore Wind Strategy:
In 2011, DOE and DOI jointly released a National Offshore Wind Strategy for the purpose of identifying opportunities to reduce the cost and deployment timelines of offshore wind projects. Given the market and technological changes since then, DOE and DOI are working together to deliver an updated offshore wind strategy in 2016. Informed by extensive stakeholder input and building on DOE’s Wind Vision Report, the updated strategy will address changes in technology, resource potential and electricity demand. The updated strategy will also outline potential initiatives to be implemented over the next five years that will help support the expansion of the offshore wind industry in the United States.

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