Continuing the momentum to achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030, the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is conducting an environmental review of the first proposed wind energy project off the coast of Maryland.
The DOI will publish a notice of intent (NOI) to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the construction and operations plan (COP) submitted by US Wind LLC. This is the 10th offshore wind energy COP review initiated under the Biden-Harris administration.
“President Biden has set the bar high for a clean energy future with ambitious offshore wind goals that will lower costs for families, create nearly 80,000 good paying jobs and make substantive progress as we work to confront the climate crisis,” states Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “The Department of the Interior is continuing to meet the moment as part of this administration’s all-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis, which includes early and ongoing engagement with nearby communities.”
The lease area is approximately 10 nautical miles off the coast of Ocean City, Md., and approximately nine nautical miles offshore Sussex County, Del. If approved, the development and construction phases of the US Wind project could support up to an estimated 2,679 jobs annually over seven years.
“If approved, this project will represent another step forward to creating a robust offshore wind industry here in the United States, all while creating good-paying, family-supporting jobs,” comments BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “We are committed to using the best available science and traditional knowledge to inform our decisions and protect the ocean environment and marine life. We look forward to receiving input from our government partners, ocean users and other stakeholders, which is critical to a successful environmental review process.”
The publication of the NOI opens a 30-day public comment period through July 8, 2022 as part of the process to help BOEM determine the scope of its environmental review.
US Wind’s proposal includes the construction and operation of an offshore wind project with a total capacity between 1,100 and 2,000 MW of clean, renewable wind energy to the Delmarva Peninsula, which could power as many as 650,000 homes in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia each year. The project includes installation of up to 121 turbines, up to four offshore substation platforms, one meteorological tower and up to four offshore export cable corridors, which are planned to make landfall at 3 R’s Beach or Tower Road in the Delaware Seashore State Park in Rehoboth Beach, Del.
The NOI public comment period will help identify what BOEM should consider as part of its environmental review of US Wind’s COP. Throughout the scoping process, multiple opportunities exist to help BOEM determine the important resources and issues, impact-producing factors, reasonable alternatives and potential mitigating measures that should be analyzed in the EIS.
During the public comment period, BOEM will hold three virtual public scoping meetings to inform the preparation of the EIS.