East Coast offshore tender delayed as regulator consults NASA and US military

The expected offshore wind auction in the central Atlantic has been delayed until next summer, while the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) seeks feedback from stakeholders including NASA.

BOEM set out proposed lease sale areas with a combined area of 1,442km2 in July

The offshore lease sale was expected this autumn, after BOEM finalised three areas off the central Atlantic coast – off Delaware, Maryland and Virginia – in July to host up to 8GW of offshore wind capacity with a combined area of 1,442km2.

Commenting on the delay, a spokesman for BOEM told Windpower Monthly: “The region is one of the busiest sections on the Atlantic seaboard, with multiple interests, including military testing and training ranges, major ports and vessel traffic, a NASA space test flight facility, commercial and recreational fisheries, and critical habitats for a variety of marine protected species”.

Additional steps have been added to the process, such as working with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to collect additional data and conduct spatial modelling, he added.

‘Not concerned’

Trade body the Business Network for Offshore Wind said the delay was justified and that BOEM would still achieve its objectives.

“BOEM is managing a wide range of stakeholder interests in their process to identify suitable lease areas in the Central Atlantic,” said John Begala, vice president of federal and state policy at BNOW.

“We are not concerned to see the agency acknowledging a 2024 auction date, as it’s important that the process be handled thoroughly in order to maximise available acreage for lease, while fully understanding all ocean users’ needs,” he added. “Even with a 2024 date, BOEM appears to still be on track to achieve its original goal of holding seven new regional auctions by 2025.”