William O’Hearn / Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Eight weeks after NYSERDA released its Area for Consideration for at least four new offshore wind energy areas (WEAs) in the New York Bight, the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held a half-day webinar to present the bureau’s response.
On Monday, December 4, the Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force for the New York Bight met via webinar with three primary objectives:
- Update the Task Force and stakeholders on BOEM’s leasing effort in the NY Bight
- Discuss the Call for Information and Nominations, specifically in the Draft Call Area, and BOEM’s assessment
- Gather Task Force feedback on the Draft New York Call Area.
The New York Bight is located south of New York harbor and Long Island and east of New Jersey, part of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and an important area for shipping lanes and commercial fishing. On October 2, NYSERDA released its Area of Consideration for 4 new wind energy areas divided into an east and a west section near the existing Statoil Wind Energy Area and asked BOEM to start the process of turning these areas into actual leases that could be purchased at auction by offshore wind developers.
BOEM experts Luke Feinberg and Isis Johnson-Farmer outlined the offshore wind lease auction process and covered changes that had been made to NYSERDA’s proposal, including the addition of two small Proposed Call Areas to the east of the Area for Consideration, removal of the Hudson Canyon from the WEAs, an extension of the navigation Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) and the removal of a scallop rotational area from the WEAs.
The meeting then heard Task Force feedback from Fred Engle of the Department of Defense, who provided a map with three wind exclusion areas for Navy training exercises, and George Detweiler of the U.S. Coast Guard, who commented on the TSS and the volume of shipping traffic moving through the Call Area.
BOEM explained that the “Call” is the first step in the auction process, and once it is published in the Federal Register a 45-day comment period will open. Other important deadlines are December 15 for comments on the Draft Call Area, and the end of December for the NYSERDA Offshore Wind Energy Master Plan. The webinar’s agenda, slides and recording are now available on the NY and NJ BOEM Task Force websites.