The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has finalized a proposed rule that will eliminate a redundant step in the non-competitive leasing process for commercial renewable energy development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.
‘This streamlined approach could cut up to a year off the leasing process for some commercial wind energy projects in the Atlantic,’ says Ken Salazar, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. ‘It would increase regulatory efficiency without affecting our ability to rigorously review, analyze and monitor projects to assure they are carried out in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.’
This action is being taken because of a requirement in the federal offshore renewable energy regulations related to the non-competitive leasing process. Under the current regulations, if BOEMRE initiates the commercial wind leasing process and only one entity responds expressing interest in acquiring a lease in that area, the bureau must still issue a second Federal Register notice request for interest to again ensure there is no competitive interest in that area.
This process can take several months, and the bureau determined that it is unnecessary and redundant. The new rule eliminates the requirement for the second request for interest and potentially could save up to six to 12 months in the leasing process, BOEMRE says.
BOEMRE published the proposed rule on Feb. 16. After analysis of the public comments received, the bureau determined it could move forward to finalize the rule. The final rule will become effective June 15.