The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is launching a competitive lease process for wind energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore New York.
The bureau is publishing a call for information and nominations to gauge companies' interest in commercial offshore wind development within an area located 11 nautical miles south of Long Beach, N.Y. The proposed 127-square-mile site contains 132 whole OCS blocks and 19 partial blocks.
"The call is an important step in planning for wind offshore New York," explains 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."
BOEM also is seeking public input on the potential for wind development in the call area, including comments on site conditions, resources and existing uses of the area. In particular, BOEM says it 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, as well as existing commercial and recreational fishing activity in and around region.
In addition to publishing the call, BOEM is publishing a notice of intent to prepare an environmental assessment, which would determine whether there are significant impacts associated with issuing a lease, conducting site characterization surveys and conducting site assessment activities.
BOEM had published a request for interest (RFI) in 2013 after receiving an unsolicited request from the New York Power Authority (NYPA) for a commercial lease to build an up-to-700 MW offshore wind project. 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.
However, Fishermen's Energy LLC and Energy Management Inc. both responded to the RFI and indicated interest in the lease area; therefore, BOEM is now required to follow the competitive lease sale process and seek other interested parties.
So far, BOEM has awarded five commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast: two non-competitive leases (Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound and an area off Delaware) and three competitive leases (two offshore Massachusetts-Rhode Island and another offshore Virginia). The agency says it expects to hold additional competitive auctions for wind energy areas offshore Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey in the coming year.