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DOI kick-starts East Coast offshore wind energy development

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The Department of the Interior last week issued five “exploratory leases” for offshore wind energy production on the Outer Continental Shelf off of New Jersey and Delaware.

The leases are the first of this type issued by the Federal Government, which is why they are called exploratory, and not breaking wind perhaps. They were developed under an interim policy from the department and authorize data gathering activities, allowing for the construction of meteorological towers on the Outer Continental Shelf from six to 18 miles offshore to collect site-specific data on wind speed, intensity, and direction.

“New Jersey’s Outer Continental Shelf is a resource that holds a great promise for our energy independence and should be considered a haven for the clean, renewable and environmentally friendly energy that wind power provides,” said New Jersey Governor Dave Corzine. “This is a major step for the state in meeting its goal of 1000 megawatts by 2013 and 3000 megawatts by 2020,” He said.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issued the exploratory leases to Bluewater Wind New Jersey Energy, LLC; Fishermen’s Energy of New Jersey, LLC; Deepwater Wind, LLC; and Bluewater Wind Delaware, LLC.

Thhe final regulatory framework for Outer Continental Shelf renewable energy development was completed in the first 100 days of President Obama’s administration, Salazar said. This framework had been long delayed by the previous administration, he noted.

The comprehensive framework “regularizes the process and brings certainty to this nascent industry in terms of how applications for OCS wind, solar and hydrokinetic resources would be addressed,” the department said.

Interior negotiated a “breakthrough agreement” with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on April 9 that clarified the jurisdictional responsibilities for leasing and licensing renewable energy projects. The framework, which takes effect June 29, provides the “rules of the road” for states and companies with renewable energy initiatives to pursue development of those projects on federal submerged lands as well as methods for sharing 27.5 percent of the revenues generated from these projects with adjacent coastal States.

Data collected under these leases will be shared with Interior’s Minerals Management Service and used to inform and support future commercial renewable energy projects, such as wind turbine farms, to help coastal States meet mandated renewable energy portfolio standards, DOI said.

The following companies are receiving the exploratory leases for meteorological towers:

State Distance
Offshore
Technology
Type
Company
New Jersey 15 – 18 miles Wind Bluewater Wind New Jersey Energy, LLC
New Jersey 6 – 9 miles Wind Fishermen’s Energy of New Jersey, LLC
New Jersey 15 – 18 miles Wind Deepwater Wind, LLC
New Jersey 12 – 15 miles Wind Deepwater Wind, LLC
Delaware 14 miles Wind Bluewater Wind Delaware, LLC

For  more information on the limited leases and renewable energy, visit the MMS website.

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Written by William DiBenedetto

29 June, 2009 at 3:12 pm

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