United States

United States

US advances offshore plans for Atlantic OCS

UNITED STATES: The US Department of the Interior is set to fast track leasing of areas for wind energy development off the coasts of Delaware, Virginia, New Jersey and Maryland.

The move comes after a study by the DOI's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) concluded the development of offshore wind farms off the off the four states would have no significant environmental impact.

The study assessed the potential impacts arising from activities such as the installation of meteorological towers and buoys, and biological and archaeological surveys. Its conclusion allows the DOI to progress its 'Smart from the Start' initiative to fast track offshore development on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf.

Speaking about the announcement, BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau said: "We are moving toward commercial-scale offshore wind energy leasing in the Mid-Atlantic and adding the necessary tools to offer those leases. We considered public input and conducted a thorough analysis to ensure future projects are sited in the right places, where the wind energy potential is significant and where environmental effects and conflicts with other uses can be minimised and managed."

The four areas where identified by the US government in February last year.

The Smart from the Start program was launched in 2010 to identify the zones that appear best suited for offshore wind development off of six states. The others were Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

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