As part of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has defined an approximately 81,130-acre wind energy area (WEA) in federal waters offshore New York for potential commercial wind development.
The area, located about 11 miles south of Long Island, is based on a proposal by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) from 2011, when it submitted an application for a commercial wind lease. NYPA proposed installing up to 194 wind turbines, each generating 3.6 MW, for a total potential yield of nearly 700 MW of wind energy generation for the Long Island and New York City region, says BOEM.
In January 2013, BOEM issued in the Federal Register a request for interest to assess whether there were other parties looking to develop commercial wind facilities in the same area. After reviewing nominations of interest, BOEM determined that competitive interest in the area proposed by NYPA existed, and it initiated the competitive leasing process.
In 2014, BOEM published in the Federal Register a call for information and nominations and a notice of intent (NOI) to prepare an environmental assessment (EA). BOEM says it considered all comments received in response to the call and NOI in developing the WEA.
“New York has tremendous offshore wind potential, and 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,” says Sally Jewell, DOI secretary. “We will continue to work with the state and local stakeholders through a collaborative effort as we determine what places have the highest potential and lowest conflict to harness the enormous wind energy potential off the Atlantic seaboard.”
To date, BOEM says it has issued 11 commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast. These include two leases offshore New Jersey (which stem from last November’s competitive lease sale). Other commercial leases include two in a WEA offshore Rhode Island-Massachusetts, another three offshore Massachusetts, one offshore Delaware, two offshore Maryland and one offshore Virginia.
BOEM will now complete an EA to determine potential impacts associated with issuing a lease. The assessment will also consider the impacts of conducting surveys and installing resource-assessment facilities in the area. BOEM says it may then move forward with steps to hold a competitive lease sale for commercial wind development offshore New York.
Abigail Ross Hopper, BOEM director, states, “This is a great day for New York and our country as we continue to diversify our nation’s energy portfolio. The area is large enough for a large-scale commercial wind project, which 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.”