Furthering progress on President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan to create American jobs, develop domestic clean energy sources and cut carbon pollution, U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Sally Jewell has announced the proposed lease sale for 81,130 acres offshore New York for commercial wind energy leasing.
“This is another major step in broadening our nation’s energy portfolio, harnessing power near population centers on the East Coast,” says Jewell. “Offshore wind power marks a new frontier in renewable energy development, creating the path for sustainable electricity generation; job creation; and strengthening our nation’s economic competitiveness.”
The DOI asserts that the proposed lease area, approximately 11 miles south of Long Island, is identical to the New York Wind Energy Area, which the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) identified earlier this year in consultation with members of its New York Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force. This task force includes federal, state, tribal and local government partners. In addition, BOEM considered information gathered through outreach with stakeholders.
“The Interior Department has worked closely with our state partner and coordinated with our Renewable Energy Task Force members to identify an area that can support a large-scale commercial wind project,” says Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Janice Schneider.
According to the DOI, a “Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) for Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore New York” will be published in the Federal Register on June 6 and will include a 60-day public comment period.
The DOI says this document provides detailed information concerning the area available for leasing, the proposed lease provisions and conditions, auction details (e.g., criteria for evaluating competing bids and award procedures), and lease execution.
Comments received electronically or postmarked by the end of the public comment period will be made available to the public and considered before the publication of the Final Sale Notice, which will announce the time and date of the lease sale.
In addition to the PSN, BOEM will publish an environmental assessment (EA) on the same day for a 30-day public comment period; the EA will consider potential impacts associated with issuing a lease, including those from conducting surveys, and approve the installation of resource assessment facilities in the area. BOEM will also consider these comments in determining whether to issue a Finding of No Significant Impact or conduct additional analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act.
BOEM will hold four public meetings in June to provide an overview of the EA findings and offer additional opportunities for public comments.
“The proposed lease area could make substantial contributions to the region’s energy supply and assist local and state governments – including New York City – in achieving their renewable energy goals,” says BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper. “In the meantime, we will continue to work with New York Renewable Energy Task Force, local communities and key stakeholders to reduce conflicts and bring clarity to potential wind energy developers.”
To date, BOEM has awarded 11 commercial offshore wind leases, including nine through the competitive lease sale process. The bureau says these lease sales have generated approximately $16 million in winning bids for more than 1 million acres in federal waters.