As part of a plan to spur wind energy development in federal waters offshore South Carolina, the U.S. Department of the Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has issued a call for information and nominations to gauge the offshore wind industry's interest in acquiring commercial leases.
In consultation with the South Carolina Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, BOEM has identified four areas (call areas), totaling roughly 1,167 square nautical miles on the Outer Continental Shelf. The call areas are delineated as Grand Strand, Cape Romain, Winyah and Charleston.
In addition, BOEM is publishing in the Federal Register a Notice of Intent (NOI) to Prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA). Through the NOI, BOEM is seeking public comment for determining significant issues and alternatives to be analyzed in the EA, which will consider potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts associated with issuing commercial wind leases and approving site assessment activities on the lease areas.Â
The call and the NOI will be published in the Federal Register on Nov. 25, and BOEM will accept public comments for 60 days. BOEM will also hold public information meetings to provide additional opportunities for the public to comment.
The announcement was made by Abigail Ross Hopper, BOEM director, and Sally Jewell, DOI secretary, as part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan and in advance of the COP21 climate discussions in Paris.
"Today's milestone marks another important step in the president's strategy to tap clean, renewable energy from the nation's vast wind and solar resources," states Jewell. "We know South Carolina has important wind energy potential, and we will work with stakeholders through a collaborative effort to identify high-potential/low-conflict areas for development – supporting investment and jobs in South Carolina."