The AWEA Offshore Wind Weekly is an e-brief that delivers timely, relevant news on the offshore wind industry, directly to your inbox every Thursday. It will cover updates on what work AWEA is doing on behalf of the offshore wind industry, top offshore news, current events and announcements.

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AWEA Updates

Week July 6

AWEA, NYOWA file joint comments with the Coast Guard on the New Jersey/Delaware Bay Port Access Route Study (NJPARS)

On July 6th, AWEA filed extensive comments with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) regarding the proposed NJPARS. The NJPARS will consider whether the USCG should establish additional routing measures in the study area to provide for safe vessel navigation in response to offshore wind development, changing vessel traffic patterns or volume, port improvements, or other reasons. Routing measures that may be considered include traffic separation schemes, two-way routes, recommended tracks, deep-water routes, precautionary areas, and areas to be avoided. The study is a precursor to any potential regulatory action in the future to establish such routing measures. The study will also inform the USCG's recommendations to BOEM regarding offshore wind projects in the study area. The study area encompasses the lease areas for offshore wind off the coasts of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey as well as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) proposed Southern New York Bight Call Area ("Hudson South").

AWEA was joined in our filing by regional partner New York Offshore Wind Alliance (NYOWA/ACENY). In summary, we argued:

  1. The Coast Guard must find a reasonable balance that facilitates the deployment of offshore wind while maintaining safe navigation as directed by statute and consistent with Administration, congressional, and state direction on offshore wind.

  2. The NJPARS should validate the status quo and conclude that no new general routing measures applicable throughout the study area are necessary, which the USCG acknowledges is one possible outcome of the study.

  3. The project specific NEPA process is the appropriate place for a more focused review of specific projects and the risks they pose to navigation safety given the specific vessels that otherwise navigate near or though the lease area. Therefore, any necessary project design or routing measures should be evaluated during this process using NSRAs, not as broadly applicable measures in the NJPARS.

  4. To the extent the USCG instead moves forward with designating broadly applicable routing measures, before doing so, the USCG needs to consider the potential negative impacts any such measures could have on offshore wind development in order to adequately reconcile both.

  5. Given limited vessel frequency and density present in the Southern New York Bight, the USCG should signal to BOEM support for moving forward with finalizing lease areas within that call area.

AWEA is also planning to file comments in August on the Coast Guard's Atlantic Coast Fairways Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and the Northern New York Bight Port Access Route Study.

AWEA Submits Comments on US Department of Energy Request for Information on Offshore Wind Environmental Research and Related Technology

On July 7th, AWEA filed comments on the Department of Energy (DOE) a Request for Information (RFI) on research needs regarding environmental impacts of offshore wind energy development in U.S. waters and related monitoring and potential mitigation technology. The purpose of this RFI was to solicit input from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and the public on high-priority research needs, gaps and opportunities regarding environmental impacts of offshore wind energy development and related monitoring and potential mitigation technology. The RFI was issued on June 3, 2020 in coordination with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

BOEM hearings wrap for Vineyard Wind Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement

On June 12th, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) published the draft Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project and published a permitting schedule. As part of stakeholder engagement opportunities, BOEM is holding virtual hearings during the comment period of the Vineyard SEIS. Four hearing have already occurred with robust participation; with the large majority of the public comments in support of the project. The final hearing will take place tonight, July 9th at 5:00 pm.

All hearings will be recorded and available on BOEM's Vineyard Wind SEIS Virtual Meetings page along with registration and details on how to comment in BOEM's process. The Virtual Meeting page includes information on the project, presentations on the different resources analyzed in the document, details on how to comment, and additional information and resources. Comments on the draft are due on July 27.

AWEA provides public comments during Tuesday's Vineyard Wind Draft SEIS Virtual Hearing.

On July 7th, Laura Morton, Senior Director for Offshore Wind Policy and Regulatory Affairs provided testimony during one of the virtual public hearings the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) is holding regarding the draft supplemental environmental impact statement for the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project. Laura thanked BOEM for completing the draft SEIS and conducting a comprehensive review of the project and concurred with their findings of little impact to finding little cause for concern for most of the areas it analyzed. She emphasized the wind industry's commitment to working with all ocean users, including continuing active engagement with commercial fishermen. Finally Laura discussed vessel navigation and urged BOEM to reject Alternative F (additional transit lanes) as it would be harmful to safe vessel navigation and because it would significantly harm the economic prospects of the projects in this area. Instead, Laura expressed support for Alternative D2, which is the 1x1 nautical mile layout leaseholders in the MA/RI lease areas 

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Additional Resources

  • #SupportOffshoreWind Website:  In march of 2020, AWEA launched the #SupportOffshoreWind campaign. The website and social content features video testimonials from Gulf Coast marine workers who had a hand in building the Block Island Wind Farm and are eager to apply their skills to working in the offshore wind industry. 
  • U.S. Offshore Wind Power Economic Impact Assessment: This report details the once-in-a-generation opportunity that offshore wind can bring to the U.S. with up to 30,000 MW of capacity, 83,000 jobs, and $25 billion of annual economic activity by 2030. 
  • Economic Impact of U.S. Offshore Wind Power Fact Sheet: This 2 page fact sheet was created from the findings in the U.S. Offshore Wind Power Economic Impact Assessment.
  • WINDIQ: WindIQ is the authoritative source of U.S. wind project and manufacturing data. The interactive, online platform provides data, charts, and dashboards covering all operational, under construction, and advanced development wind energy projects. WindIQ now allows you to search specifically for offshore projects via the ‘Phase Type’ criteria. The map also shows the offshore location of the project.
  • Offshore Wind Energy Fact Sheet: U.S. offshore wind is taking shape in waters off the coast across the country. Learn more about the abundant potential of this new ocean energy resource. Updated December 2019.
  • Offshore 2019The 2019 AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER Conference in Boston included nearly 1,300 attendees, 76 exhibitors, dozens of sessions featuring 160 industry leaders and experts, as well as hundreds of onsite business meetings between attending companies. The opportunities and excitement around the future of the U.S. offshore wind sector were undeniable. It was evident our industry is at the forefront of a new American energy source. ICYMI: Post conference report, the conference recordings, and event photos.
  • Offshore 2020Save the date for the AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER 2020 Conference in New York City, October 13 - 14.