MD - Department of the Interior Announces Environmental Review of First Proposed Wind Energy Project Offshore Maryland
Seeks public comment on proposal that could power up to 650,000 homes
Date: Monday, June 6, 2022
WASHINGTON — Continuing the momentum to achieve the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030, the Department of the Interior today announced the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will conduct an environmental review of the first proposed wind energy project offshore Maryland.
This week, the Department 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 (US Wind). 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,” said 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, Maryland, and approximately nine nautical miles offshore Sussex County, Delaware. 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,” said 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.”
President Biden catalyzed the offshore wind energy industry by announcing the first-ever national offshore wind energy goal, creating a clear vision for the future of this innovative industry. This goal is reinforced by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will make historic investments to build a better America with clean energy, resilient infrastructure and strong domestic manufacturing and supply chains.
In addition, this past fall, the Administration announced a new leasing path forward, which identified up to seven potential lease sales by 2025. A recent report indicates the United States’ growing offshore wind energy industry presents a $109 billion revenue opportunity to businesses in the supply chain over the next decade.
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.
Highlights from US Wind’s proposal include the following:
- Construction and operation of an offshore wind project with a total capacity between 1,100 and 2,000 megawatts 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.
- 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, Delaware.
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 on the following dates and times:
- Tuesday, June 21, at 5 p.m. ET
- Thursday, June 23, at 5 p.m. ET
- Monday, June 27, at 1 p.m. ET
Registration for the virtual public meetings and detailed information about the proposed wind energy facility, including how to comment, can be found on BOEM’s website.