In support of the Administration’s “America First Energy Plan,” the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is pleased to announce the availability of draft guidelines for the use of a “Design Envelope” approach in Construction and Operations Plans (COPs) for offshore wind energy facilities in the United States.
“The Outer Continental Shelf’s offshore wind potential is a tremendous asset and part of the Administration’s America First Energy Plan to make it easier for the industry to do business here,” said Secretary Ryan Zinke. “And, now more than ever, we must use every tool at our disposal to ensure an energy-secure future – one that promotes jobs and is affordable, competitive and safe. Offshore wind will play a big role in this future.”
In order to take advantage of the rapid pace of technological development within the offshore wind industry, offshore wind developers have asked BOEM to adopt this practice which is standard in some European countries for permitting offshore wind energy projects. This would afford developers a degree of flexibility and allow them to make certain project-design decisions—such as which turbines to use—at the more commercially advantageous time later in the project development process.
Last August, the Administration announced Executive Order 13807 to streamline the review and permitting of infrastructure projects. The design envelope approach would allow BOEM to analyze the environmental impacts of the proposed project in a manner that could reduce or eliminate the need for subsequent environmental and technical reviews without sacrificing appropriate environmental safeguards.
“The offshore wind industry is moving at a phenomenal pace and I’m proud to announce that this Administration is working with industry and stakeholders to make the renewable energy development process quicker, cheaper and more competitive with the rest of the world,” said Counselor for Energy Policy, Vincent DeVito.
It is important to note that when describing a proposed wind facility, the use of a design envelope is not mandatory. Design envelopes are intended to be an optional tool for prospective developers.
BOEM welcomes input from industry and other interested stakeholders before finalizing this guidance.
To help facilitate this conversation, BOEM will be hosting a webinar on the draft guidance on January 31st, 2018. For more information, click here.