in News Departments > Policy Watch
print the content item

The progress that offshore wind energy has made thus far in the U.S. could be stymied by cuts made under sequestration, U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Ken Salazar said at the Offshore Wind Power USA conference, which is being held in Boston this week.

"We have made impressive gains - approving dozens of utility-scale solar, wind and geothermal projects in the West, and transitioning from planning to commercial leasing for offshore wind," Salazar said during his keynote address. “The potentially devastating impact of budget reductions under sequestration could slow our economy and hurt energy sector workers and businesses.”

Mandatory budget cuts under sequestration could delay the DOI’s ability to issue permits for new development, plan for new projects, conduct environmental reviews and lease new federal lands for future development - both for renewable and conventional energy, Salazar said.

The cuts would mean fewer studies, fewer opportunities to obtain meaningful stakeholder input, and delays in identification of potential use conflicts, Salazar continued, adding that the result could be a slower pace in identifying and leasing wind energy areas in federal waters, thus adversely impacting the DOI’s ability to address offshore renewable energy management in a timely manner.

The DOI has already issued two non-competitive commercial wind energy leases - one off Massachusetts and another off Delaware - and is moving forward with the first-ever competitive lease sales for wind energy areas off Virginia and Rhode Island/Massachusetts, which will offer nearly 278,000 acres for development.

The areas proposed could support more than 4 GW of wind energy generation. Salazar also signed a lease and approved a construction and operations plan for the 130-turbine Cape Wind project.

Salazar said the DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will propose additional commercial lease sales this year for wind energy areas offshore New Jersey, Maryland and Massachusetts, and is working to determine industry interest in three areas off North Carolina. BOEM also is processing a lease request from Statoil to develop floating wind turbines in federal waters off Maine. Other demonstration projects are proposed off Virginia and Oregon.

In addition, BOEM is considering a mid-Atlantic wind energy transmission line that would 7 GW of wind turbine capacity to the grid. The Atlantic Wind Connection would run from southern Virginia to northern New Jersey, collecting power produced by wind facilities off New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia and bringing it ashore.



Trachte Inc._id1770
Latest Top Stories

Utility-Scale Wind And Solar Keep Getting Cheaper

A new study measures the levelized cost of energy from various technologies and suggests that the costs of utility-scale wind and solar power are catching up with those of traditional sources, even without subsidies.


The Song Remains The Same: Ontario Seeks More Science Before Lifting Offshore Ban

The Ontario government says the nearly four-year-old offshore wind moratorium will remain in place until the province fully understands the technology’s impact on the environment.


Why States Should Adopt A Renewable Portfolio Standard

A new study analyzes the potential benefits of state renewable energy mandates, as well as recommends what such policies should include.


Sen. Reid Vows To Bring Wind PTC To A Vote By Year's End

Nevada's senior senator provides some encouragement to wind industry advocates during his annual Clean Energy Summit.


Steadily, Wind Turbine OEMs Resume R&D Investment

An increased commitment to research and development will likely lead to wind energy innovation - not to mention a likely increase in patent-protected technology.

Renewable NRG_id1934
Canwea_id1984
UnitedEquip_id1995
Future Energy_id2008