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Offshore permit rules settled
1 May 2009
The way is now clear for site licences to be granted for offshore wind power developments in US waters. President Barack Obama, speaking on Earth Day last month, chose a wind tower manufacturing plant in Iowa operated by Trinity Industries as the backdrop to confirm rules for leasing parts of the US seabed for offshore wind projects. The rules, proposed by the Minerals Management Service (MMS), have been public for some time (Windpower Monthly, December 2008), but the wind industry has been waiting for them to be made official. Prior to Obama's announcement, an agreement signed last month between the Department of the Interior, under which the MMS operates, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), removed an overlap between the two agencies on who should grant preliminary approval for energy developments in federal waters, making MMS the responsible authority. Interest in developing offshore wind farms in America is growing. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is calling for expressions of interest in developing a 120 MW offshore wind project in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Interested parties have until June 15 to respond, after which NYPA may invite competitive bids for a power purchase contract for offshore generation.
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