BOEM moves ahead on New York offshore wind planning

MAY 28, 2014 —The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) says it is moving forward with wind energy planning efforts on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore New York.

The bureau is publishing a Call for Information and Nominations (Call) to obtain nominations from companies interested in commercial wind energy leases within a proposed area offshore New York, located 11 nautical miles south of Long Beach, New York.

In addition to nominations, BOEM seeks public input on the potential for wind development in the Call Area, including comments on site conditions, resources, and existing uses of the area that would be relevant to BOEM's wind energy development authorization process.

 In particular, BOEM requests public comment on two issues that may impact future wind development offshore New York, namely a liquefied natural gas facility that is proposed to be located in the same area under consideration for offshore wind development, and existing commercial and recreational fishing activity in and around the Call Area.

BOEM is also publishing a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA). The purpose of the EA is to determine whether there are significant impacts associated with issuing a lease, conducting site characterization surveys, and conducting site assessment activities (e.g., the installation of a meteorological tower or buoys) within the proposed area. Through the NOI, BOEM is seeking public input on the environmental and socioeconomic issues to be considered, as well as alternatives and mitigation measures.

"The Call is an important step in planning for wind offshore New York," said BOEM Acting Director Walter Cruickshank. "After the completion of the necessary environmental reviews, consideration of the existing uses of the area, and consideration of feedback from the New York Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force and the public, BOEM will decide whether to publish a Proposed Sale Notice to describe the area to be offered and the proposed terms and conditions of wind energy leases."

The proposed location – or "Call Area" -- under consideration in today's announcement is approximately 127 square miles. It contains 132 whole OCS blocks and 19 partial blocks.

It is the same area described a Request for Interest (RFI) that BOEM published in the Federal Register for public comment on January 4, 2013. BOEM may adjust this potential leasing area depending on information received following the Call.

BOEM published the RFI after receiving an unsolicited request from the New York Power Authority (NYPA) for a commercial wind energy lease. The purpose of the RFI was to determine whether it was appropriate for BOEM to issue the lease to NYPA on a non-competitive basis, or whether a competitive process would be required. In response to the RFI, BOEM received multiple public comments and two indications of interest, Because it received indications of interest, BOEM is required to follow the competitive lease sale process for this area offshore New York.