The updates below were featured in past is​sues of the Offshore Wind Weekly.

Week June 29

Administration issues 2020 Unified Regulatory Agenda: Includes Offshore Renewable Energy Proposed Regulations

On Tuesday, June 30, the Administration published its 2020 Unified Regulatory Agenda. The agenda includes two BOEM proposed rules: 1) a Proposed rule on regulatory reform focused on deregulating and streamlining renewable energy regulations intended to facilitate offshore renewable energy development without decreasing environmental safeguards, including more flexible geophysical and geotechnical survey submission requirements; streamlined approval of meteorological buoys; revised project verification procedures; and greater clarity regarding safety requirements. Note that this proposed rule was first on the regulatory reform agenda in 2017. BOEM promises to release the NPRM in July 2020 with a comment deadline in September and a final rule in December; 2) a new proposed rule to remove unsolicited lease requests from OSW leasing process. The proposed rule is in response to the evolution of the offshore renewable energy program and stakeholder request and petition to remove unsolicited lease requests from the offshore renewable energy leasing processes, as described in BOEM’s existing regulations at 30 CFR part 585. This NPRM is promised for a July release, September comment deadline, and final rule in December.

BOEM hearings continue 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. The first two hearings took place on June 26th and 30th. There is one more hearing on July 2nd at 5:00 pm. The final two hearings will follow next week on July 7th and 9th. All hearings will be held 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.

Administration releases schedule for issuing a Final Rule updating the National Environmental Policy Act

On June 30, 2020, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published a schedule in the Administration's Unified Agenda for issuing the final rule on the Update to the Regulations for Implementing the Procedural Provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act. An advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) requesting public comments on questions related to the regulations was issued in June 2018 and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in January 2020, followed by a 60-day public comment period, ending March 10, 2020. The proposed rule “seeks to reduce delays and improve interagency coordination in the environmental review process, promote earlier public involvement, increase transparency, and enhance the participation of States, Tribes, and localities, and to promote better decision-making consistent with NEPA's statutory requirements.” The Final Rule is scheduled for release in September 2020 but is anticipated to be published as early as mid-July.

AWEA Statement on GREEN Act

On June 25th, the American Wind Energy Association released a press statement applauding the release of the Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act by Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA), Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures, and Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA), Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means. The legislation includes an extension of the current Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for five years for onshore and offshore wind energy. The bill also allows for direct payment worth 85 percent of the credit values, in order to help companies utilize the credits. The wind energy tax credit is expiring at the end of 2020, while other energy sources have permanent tax credits. 

AWEA statement on bipartisan letter to Treasury on offshore wind safe harbor

On June 30th, the American Wind Energy Association released a statement supporting Senator Cassidy, Senator Whitehouse, and other Senate leaders who sent a letter to the Treasury Department on the importance of safe-guarding America's offshore wind energy future.

Tom Kiernan, AWEA CEO, said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges facing offshore wind development, threatening to sink the industry just as it was about to set sail in the U.S. and putting our country at risk of falling even further behind global competitors. On top of construction delays and financial difficulties faced by the entire wind community, offshore developers are facing the significant additional challenges related to permitting offshore in federal waters. Delays from COVID compound other scheduling difficulties, such as those related to coastal weather and ocean wildlife migration patterns, placing further constraints on the industry’s ability to move forward in a timely manner. We commend the bipartisan group of Senators, led by Senators Cassidy and Whitehouse, on recognizing the need for a longer timeline to finalize these projects and providing certainty that will allow investments to continue. Making these adjustments to existing policies will provide the industry the flexibility to finally take off, enabling an energy source that is poised to deliver 83,000 jobs and $25 billion of annual economic output within the next decade. To date, nearly all American wind projects are on state and private land, and we encourage methods to allow projects on federal land and in federal waters to better navigate the already lengthy permitting, development, and construction process." 

AWEA statement on House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis recommendations

On June 30th, the American Wind Energy Association issued a press release supporting the Select Committee on the Climate Crises recommendations on climate policies. The report specifically recommends creating an investment tax credit to deploy more offshore wind energy projects and further extend safe harbor deadlines for offshore wind, continuing and increasing investment in research and development for onshore and offshore wind, as well as the development of a national offshore wind transmission plan.

Department of Energy (DOE) RFI on test buoy

DOE's Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) is considering procuring an instrumentation test buoy to support the OSW industry in the United States. Beyond meteorological and oceanographic ("metocean") physical measurements, there is significant interest in developing buoy-mounted environmental sensors to increase our understanding of potential environmental effects of OSW.

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is requesting feedback from OSW stakeholders on useful capabilities and configuration for such a test buoy. This feedback will inform the eventual buoy specifications should WETO decide to proceed with a procurement. The PNNL Buoy RFI is open for feedback here. Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to buoyloanprogram@pnnl.gov no later than 8:00pm EST on July 31,2020. 

Coast Guard announces northern NY Bight Port Access Route Study

On June 29th, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) published in the federal register a notice of the initiation of the northern NY Bight Port Access Route Study (NNYBPARS). Comments will be due on August 28.

The NNYBPARS will evaluate the adequacy of existing vessel routing measures and determine whether additional vessel routing measures are necessary for port approaches to New York and New Jersey and international and domestic transit areas in the First District area of responsibility. The Northern New York Bight PARS (NNYBPARS) will consider whether existing or additional routing measures are necessary to improve navigation safety due to factors such as planned or potential offshore development; current port capabilities and planned improvements; increased vessel traffic; existing and potential anchorage areas; changing vessel traffic patterns; effects of weather; or navigational difficulty. Vessel routing measures, which include traffic separation schemes, two-way routes, recommended tracks, deep-water routes, precautionary areas, and areas to be avoided, are implemented to reduce the risk of marine casualties. The recommendations of the study may subsequently be implemented through rulemakings or in accordance with international agreements.

The notice indicates the study will take 12 months to complete. The Coast Guard is planning two public meetings on this study, but the dates/times/locations have not been announced. AWEA will prepare comments on this notice of study. We have already discussed collaboration with the New York Offshore Wind Alliance (NYOWA). These comments will be in addition to comments AWEA is drafting and will file by the July 6 deadline on the New Jersey/Delaware Bay PARS, which includes the southern New York Bight along with multiple lease areas off the New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland coasts, and the Atlantic Coast Fairways advance notice of proposed rulemaking in which AWEA will file comments by the August 18 deadline. 

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) Notice of Information gathering

On June 26th, the NJBPU announced an information-gathering process on offshore transmission. The notice indicates that staff will hold video chats with each interested party, and each party will be able to submit comments afterwards. NJBPU Staff are requesting information on design, cost, and operational data, as well as opinions on the relative advantages and disadvantages of the radial export cable and ocean grid options. If you are interested in participating in a video meeting, please contact NJBPU by July 2 by emailing OSW.Stakeholder@bpu.nj.gov

Week June 22

New England offshore wind leaseholders release a joint statement on BOEM’s draft supplemental environmental impact statement for Vineyard Wind, which also considers cumulative impacts

On June 22, the New England offshore wind leaseholders -- Equinor, Mayflower Wind, Ørsted/Eversource, and Vineyard Wind – issued a joint statement thanking BOEM for issuing the draft supplemental EIS (DSEIS). The DSEIS, which evaluates the direct and indirect impacts from Vineyard Wind and the foreseeable cumulative impacts of the build out 22GW of offshore wind from North Carolina to Maine, outlines the positive and potentially negative impacts of a future buildout and what can be done to ensure the positive outweighs the negative. It also highlights the developers’ agreement to a uniform 1x 1 nautical mile spacing between the turbines in the lease areas, which BOEM and the Coast Guard have found largely eliminates navigational and marine safety concerns.  Finally, the statement reinforces industry commitments to collecting, using and sharing credible scientific data and working collaboratively to ensure responsible coexistence with all users of the New England lease area.

BOEM Hearings Begin 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. There will be five public hearings over the 45-day comment period: June 26th at 5:00pm, June 30th at 1:00pm, July 2nd at 5:00pm, July 7th at 1:00pm, and July 9th at 5:00pm. All hearings will be held 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. Contact Laura Morton for more information.

Coast Guard proposed rulemaking on fairways along the Atlantic Coast

On June 19, the US Coast Guard issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on the possible establishment of shipping safety fairways along the Atlantic Coast, as identified in the Atlantic Coast port access route study (ACPARS). Comments are due on August 18, 2020. AWEA plans to file comments, as we did on the original ACPARS. 

AWEA Releases Statement on H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act

On June 23rd, AWEA issued a press release on the introduction of the House bill from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The Moving Forward Act is a more than $1.5 trillion plan to rebuild American infrastructure. Specifically, it invests more than $70 billion into clean energy to transform the electric grid to accommodate more renewable energy and strengthens commitment to renewable energy and combatting the climate crisis by building on current tax incentives.

Tom Kiernan, AWEA CEO says, "AWEA applauds House leadership for recognizing the key role that renewable energy plays in American infrastructure development, especially as our economy strives to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Federal credits for renewable energy sources have been a cornerstone of the immense economic and environmental benefits that wind, solar, and other clean technologies have delivered to the U.S. since they were enacted. This legislation preserves successful credits that have proven their effectiveness and puts the wind industry a step closer to tax policy parity with other energy sources. Providing direct payment for the credits is especially crucial as the wind industry works to withstand the enormous challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Modernizing the electric grid is crucial to making the entire power system more reliable and affordable, so we appreciate the legislation’s direction to FERC to improve the interregional transmission planning process. The offshore wind industry is at a critical juncture, with developers on the brink of unlocking an entirely new industry for the U.S. Offshore wind also faces additional challenges from COVID-19 and we would like to see longer-term support for its development, similar to the ITC extension through 2026 as prescribed in HR 4887 by Rep. Pascrell (D-NJ)." 

Week June 15

BOEM publishes Vineyard Wind Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement

On Friday 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. The publication of the draft SEIS is a step towards the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement due in November. Notably, BOEM cited AWEA's Offshore Wind Power Economic Impact Assessment Report in the draft SEIS, reflecting positive progress on getting Administration decision makers to recognize the benefits of offshore wind. The draft SEIS references the report’s finding of over $1.3 billion in announced domestic investments in wind energy manufacturing facilities, ports, and vessel construction in Atlantic states, and that, under AWEA's high scenario, offshore wind energy development would support $25.4 billion in output, $12.5 billion in value added, and approximately 82,500 jobs by 2030. There will be five public hearings over the 45-day comment period: June 26th at 5:00pm, June 30th at 1:00pm, July 2nd at 5:00pm, July 7th at 1:00pm, and July 9th at 1:00pm. All hearings will be held 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.

New Jersey Governor announces plan to develop the 'New Jersey Wind Port' to serve offshore wind projects in NJ and the Mid-Atlantic

On June 16, 2020, Governor Murphy announced plans to construct a 200+ acre hub-style marshalling and manufacturing port in Lower Alloways Creek Township in Salem County that will be the first purpose-built, greenfield port for offshore wind on the East Coast. The wind port construction is planned in two phases, beginning in 2021 and first operations in 2023. Phase 1 calls for developing a 30-acre site to accommodate marshalling activities and a 25-acre component manufacturing site to support the first round of New Jersey and East Coast projects. Phase 2 construction is targeted to begin in 2023 and would add more acreage for expanded marshalling and manufacturing for offshore wind blades, towers, and nacelles. At full build out, the port is expected to support over 1,500 manufacturing, assembly, and operations jobs, including hundreds of additional union jobs. The state projects the Port will cost between $300 million and $400 million and support up to $500 million of new economic activity within the New Jersey and the region each year.

Coast Guard and the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal hold webinar demonstrating mapping tools and providing additional background on the proposed NJ/Delaware Bay Port Access Route Study and Cape Fear River Proposed Anchorage Area

On Tuesday, June 16th, the Coast Guard and Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal hosted a dedicated webinar on two new maps showing a proposed anchorage area near the approach to the Cape Fear River in North Carolina and a Port Access Route Study (PARS) area extending offshore from Long Branch, New Jersey, to the Ocean City, Maryland, area. In this webinar, staff from the U.S. Coast Guard’s District 5 provided additional information on the NJ/DE Bay PARS and Cape Fear anchorage area proposals, demonstrated the new maps, and discussed how the Portal can be used to analyze the sites and inform public comments submitted in response to the Coast Guard's proposed rulemakings on the NJ/Delaware Bay Port Access Route Study and regulated anchorage area in the approaches to the Cape Fear River.

During the meeting, the Coast Guard noted that following numerous requests, including AWEA’s submission, it will be holding virtual public meetings on the NJ/DE Bay PARS in order to identify issues that it needs to consider. Those meetings will be announced in the Federal Register in the coming weeks. The Coast Guard also indicated that it may re-open the comment period to coincide with public meetings to take written comment as well oral statements. The Coast Guard indicated that the study may take more than 12 months to complete and will be initially published as a draft with additional opportunities for public comment.

Additional PARS for the Atlantic Coast will be announced in the coming months. The Coast Guard noted that it expects the PARS for the NY Bight to be released within weeks and that it will be handled primarily by the Coast Guard’s 1st District. The video replay of the webinar can be found at this link.

AWEA files public hearing request with US Coast Guard regarding proposed NJ/DE Bay port access route study

On June 4, 2020, AWEA filed comments with the U.S. Coast Guard requesting a public hearing and raising several questions regarding the proposed port access route study (PARS) for New Jersey and Delaware Bay that will analyze navigation routes to/from the seacoast of New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland including approaches to the Delaware Bay connecting to the proposed fairways outlined in the Atlantic Coast Port Access Study (ACPARS) including international routes to/from the United States. The study area extends approximately 175 nautical miles seaward including the offshore area of New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland used by private, commercial and public vessels transiting to and from these ports and is available for viewing on the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal here. The PARS will consider whether existing or additional routing measures are necessary to improve navigation safety due to factors such as planned or potential offshore development, including wind turbine placements and transmission corridors, current port capabilities and planned improvements, increased vessel traffic, existing and potential anchorage areas, changing vessel traffic patterns, weather conditions, or navigational difficulty. The Notice notes that similar to the ACPARS, it will use AIS data and information from stakeholders to identify and verify customary navigation routes as well as potential conflicts involving alternative activities, such as Offshore Renewable Energy Installations. AWEA’s request for a public hearing asked how this proposed PARS is related to other ongoing proceedings, including the anchorage rulemaking in this same general area and the announced re-consideration of fairways designations arising from the previous Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study (ACPARS). 

FERC issues notice of October technical conference regarding Offshore Wind Integration in RTOs/ISOs technical conference

On June 18, 2020, FERC issued a notice of a technical conference to be held on October 27, "to discuss whether existing Commission transmission, interconnection, and merchant transmission facility frameworks in RTOs/ISOs can accommodate anticipated growth in offshore wind generation in an efficient and effective manner that safeguards open access transmission principles and to consider possible changes or improvements to the current framework should they be needed to accommodate such growth." The notice is attached. An agenda will be released closer to the conference date, and FERC has not yet determined if it will be in-person or teleconference. Individuals seeking to participate as panelists should submit a self-nomination form by Friday, August 14 here. Individuals who are interested in registering for the conference can do so here.

Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources holding 100% Renewable Electricity Initiative Public Workshop

The Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (OER) announced the first in a series of virtual public workshops in response to Governor Gina M. Raimondo's Executive Order 20-01: Advancing a 100% Renewable Energy Future for Rhode Island by 2030. The first virtual workshop will be held July 9th from 9:00 am.-12:00 p.m. During this first Public Workshop, OER will introduce the State Project Team and its consultants at The Brattle Group. They will discuss some initial principles to help guide the work ahead and discuss proposed analytical approaches.

As a reminder, other New England states are engaged in similar planning for a clean energy future. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is conducting its Clean Energy Pathways Analysis, which will evaluate approaches to achieving a 100 percent zero carbon grid for Connecticut by 2040, as called for in Executive Order No. 3. Earlier this year Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs released a Draft Letter of Determination with proposed language to set a 2050 greenhouse gas emissions limit designed to achieve net-zero GHG emissions, which Governor Baker announced during the State of the Commonwealth address on January 21, 2020.

NOAA's Marine Fishery Advisory Committee holds virtual meeting, will discuss offshore wind

On June 29th-July 1st, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Fishery Advisory Committee will hold its quarterly meeting during which it will receive briefings on the new Executive Order Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth and expand on concerns and recommendations regarding offshore wind development in the marine environment. The MAFAC’s offshore wind ad hoc working group will address impacts from offshore wind siting and operations on all fishing and marine science operations of the Agency, have a discussion in which it will also work to identify goals, work plan, short term and long term tasks, and agree upon future action items. The agenda and information on accessing the webinar and teleconference access can be found here

Responsible Offshore Development Alliance submits public comment letter on BOEM Oregon Task Force Data Gathering and Engagement Plan

On June 2, RODA submitted a public comment letter on the Oregon Task Force's Data Gathering and Engagement Plan arguing that "the planning processes for minimizing conflicts between offshore wind energy and fisheries are broken and ineffective (a view shared with their counterparts across the country)." RODA urged the Task Force "to reconsider its approach to both its own process and the Engagement Plan, and to work closely with affected interests to develop a new model that fully identifies and addresses impacts to fishing and fishery resources before issuance of any leases."

US Department of Energy seeks input to its Request for Information on Offshore Wind Environmental Research and Related Technology

On June 3, 2020, the Department of Energy, in coordination with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service issued 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 is 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. Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to WindEnergyRFI@ee.doe.gov no later than 5:00 pm (ET) on July 7, 2020.

US Coast Guard requests comments on potentially establishing a regulated anchorage ground offshore near the Cape Fear River, NC

On May 8th, the U.S. Coast Guard issued a notice requesting comments on a potential rulemaking to establish an anchorage ground offshore in the approaches to the Cape Fear River. The Coast Guard says this action is responding to requests suggesting an anchorage ground is necessary to accommodate current and future vessel traffic and improve navigation safety, and because offshore wind may impact traditional anchorage areas. The Coast Guard highlighted the wind energy and lease areas off the Carolinas identified in BOEM's "Path Forward" and is concerned that as these "wind energy areas are developed and electrical export cables installed, vessel traffic may be displaced or funneled into smaller areas, and areas traditionally used for anchoring may be impacted." The Coast Guard further opines that, "establishing an adequate and dedicated offshore anchorage will preserve areas traditionally used for anchoring and alleviate potential hazardous conditions of vessels anchoring in the common approaches to the Cape Fear River." It seeks comments in part on whether such an anchorage ground will facilitate offshore renewable energy development and associated economic activity. Comments on the notice are due July 7, 2020

Week June 8

BOEM completes Vineyard Wind Draft Supplemental Environmental Statement

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) finalized the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project. The Notice of Availability can be found here and will be officially published on June 12th in the Federal Register. The NOA will open a 45-day comment period, during which BOEM will hold five virtual public hearings to provide an overview of the project and offer opportunity for the public to ask questions and provide oral testimony. BOEM's press release provides more information on the SEIS and upcoming hearing dates.

AWEA, the Business Network for Offshore Wind (BNOW), and the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) issued a press statement commending BOEM for issuing the statement on schedule, especially as the agency had to adapt to new workplace realities due to COVID-19.

AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan says, "BOEM has taken the first in a series of important steps in finally unlocking the enormous potential for offshore wind to deliver clean, reliable power to major population centers in the U.S. This first step will help our country catch up to other nations that are already safely and successfully operating offshore wind farms. We look forward to reviewing the report and its implications and urge the Administration to finalize the assessment in a timely manner, allowing the American offshore wind industry to invest billions of dollars into the economy and create tens of thousands of jobs across the country. The offshore wind industry is committed to working closely with other ocean users and remains confident that the deployment of offshore wind is compatible with commercial fishing and safe navigation, as has been demonstrated for years in other countries."

Trump signs Executive Order to expedite federal project approvals

On June 4, President Donald Trump signed an executive order (EO) instructing federal agency heads to use "emergency authorities" to quickly approve major infrastructure projects, stating the COVID pandemic created a situation that required quick action to stimulate economic growth. The EO instructs federal agencies to take advantage of their emergency powers in "statutes and regulations" that allow for expedited environmental review for projects in exigent circumstances to "speed infrastructure investments" to boost the economy.

While the EO focuses on transportation projects, it also applies to other infrastructure projects, including the following areas that are potentially relevant for wind energy and transmission:
  • Expediting permits for projects on federal lands
    • The Department of the Interior (Bureau of Land Management) and the Department of Agriculture (Forest Service) are directed to use their emergency authorities to "expedite work on, and completion of, all authorized and appropriated infrastructure, energy, environmental, and natural resources projects on their lands."
    • Since some wind and transmission projects are either sited on federal lands or cross them and, therefore, need rights-of-way grants, this could theoretically help expedite those projects.
  • Expediting permits for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews
    • The EO explains the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) has already provided regulations that allow agencies in emergency circumstances to take actions that have significant environmental impacts without observing the regulations for full environmental reviews, and the agencies may consult with CEQ to make "alternative arrangements" to take such actions.
    • Agencies are required to identify planned or potential actions that may be subject to: emergency treatment as alternative arrangements; statutory exemptions from NEPA; categorical exclusions that agencies have included in their NEPA procedures; covered by already completed NEPA analyses that obviate the need for new analyses; or "otherwise use concise and focused NEPA environmental analyses."
      • Wind and transmission projects typically trigger NEPA and, therefore, this could theoretically expedite some of those projects.
        • For instance, there are multiple onshore and offshore wind projects currently in the NEPA review process, but it is unclear if the EO would be used to advance them toward a record of decision.
      • Already, the Trump administration has advanced its proposed changes to NEPA rules, which are now under final review at the White House.
  • Expediting Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultations
    • All agencies are directed to use the ESA regulation on consultations in emergencies to fast track that process.
    • The Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service are directed to be available to consult promptly with agencies and take other prompt action concerning the application of the ESA's emergency regulations.
      • As wind and transmission projects often must get incidental take permits under the ESA, which include lengthy consultations, this could speed up some projects.
  • Army Corps nationwide permits
    • The Army Corps is directed to use its emergency authority to expedite nationwide discharge permits, under the Clean Water Act (CWA).
    • The Army Corps must also promptly consult with agencies to expedite that permitting process.
      • Wind and transmission projects use various nationwide permits to fast track the permitting process under the CWA, so this could expedite some projects.
        • This provision appears to be targeted at a recent Montana federal judge's decision to void Nationwide Permit 12. The order, issued in a challenge to the Keystone XL pipeline, originally threw projects across the country into chaos, including wind projects that use the permit. However, as the judge narrowed the initial ruling, it now only prevents the issuance of these permits for oil and gas projects.
  • General provision to review all federal permits
    • All agencies are directed to review "all statutes, regulations, and guidance documents that may provide for emergency or expedited treatment (including waivers, exemptions, or other streamlining) with regard to agency actions pertinent to infrastructure, energy, environmental, or natural resources matters."
    • As wind and transmission projects are subject to further federal permits and reviews than those outlined above, this could allow for waivers, exemptions, or other streamlining related to them as well, such as under the National Historic Preservation Act or construction and operation permits in federal waters for offshore projects.
    • This provision could also be used to shorten comment periods and other procedures related to such reviews.
Under the EO, all these reviews must be conducted within 30 days from the issuance of the report, and the reports must identify what projects will be expedited under the order. However, there is no requirement for that list to be publicized. The status reports must also be provided at least every 30 days for the duration of the national emergency. While the EO is sweeping on its face, it remains to be seen what types of projects and circumstances it will be applied to in practice.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) holds eighth Oregon Intergovernmental Task Force meeting

On June 4, 2020, BOEM and the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development held its eighth Intergovernmental Task Force meeting by webinar. The meeting provided an update by BOEM and other Task Force members on activities relevant to offshore wind and discussed approaches for engagement, and data and information gathering, to inform potential offshore wind energy planning and leasing decisions offshore Oregon. Information on the webinar, including the Agenda; Task Force Membership Roster; Presentation; BOEM Oregon Offshore Wind Energy Data Gathering and Engagement Plan; Selected BOEM-Funded Research Informing Renewable Energy Offshore Oregon can be found here. The Data Gathering and Engagement Plan outlines in depth how BOEM and the State of Oregon will engage with research organizations, ocean users, and other potentially interested and affected parties, through a data and information gathering process to inform eight potential offshore wind energy planning and leasing decisions offshore Oregon. 

AWEA places offshore wind op-ed in the Corpus Christi Caller Times

This morning, an op-ed by Laura Morton, senior director of offshore wind at AWEA, ran in the Caller Times highlighting the potential for the offshore wind industry in the Gulf of Mexico, specifically along the Texas border. 

National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium awards $10 million to 12 new projects

On June 4, the National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium announced the competitive selection of 12 new research projects. The awarded projects include:
  • Demonstration of Shallow-Water Mooring Components for FOWTs (ShallowFloat), Principle Power, Inc.
  • Design and Certification of Taut-synthetic Moorings for Floating Wind Turbines, University of Maine
  • Dual-Functional Tuned Inerter Damper for Enhanced Semi-Sub Offshore Wind Turbine, Virginia Tech University
  • Innovative Anchoring System for Floating Offshore Wind, Triton Systems, Inc
  • Techno-Economic Mooring Configuration and Design for Floating Offshore Wind, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Development of Advanced Methods for Evaluating Grid Stability Impacts, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Development of a Metocean Reference Site near the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Wind Energy Areas, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
  • Enabling Condition Based Maintenance for Offshore Wind, General Electric
  • Physics Based Digital Twins for Optimal Asset Management, Tufts University
  • Radar Based Wake Optimization of Offshore Wind Farms, General Electric
  • Survival Modeling for Offshore Wind Prognostics, Tagup, Inc.
  • 20GW by 2035: Supply Chain Roadmap for Offshore Wind in the U.S., National Renewable Energy Laboratory
This brings the total number of Consortium awards to 20, representing an investment of up to $17.3 million. When establishing the Consortium in 2018, DOE and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority each provided $20.5 million to fund high-impact research projects to lower the costs of U.S. offshore wind and support supply chain development. The Consortium plans to release another solicitation later this year. Additional information on the mission of the Consortium and its membership of leading offshore wind developers, research institutions, and industrial partners may be found here

Week June 1

Coast Guard issues final rule on anchorage grounds in Cape Charles, VA

On May 28, 2020, following comments on its proposed rule and public hearings in the summer of 2018, the U.S. Coast Guard issued a Final Rule establishing new, deep-water anchorage grounds for the Hampton Roads area near Cape Charles, VA, and increasing the size and relocates the existing quarantine anchorage from near Cape Charles to further south in the lower Chesapeake Bay. The Rule is intended to protect the environment, facilitate safe navigation of maritime commerce and national defense assets, and more safely and effectively support commercial vessel anchoring needs in the lower Chesapeake Bay.

New England Fishery Management Council June meeting

On June 23-25, NEFMC will hold a meeting to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zones. Following the lunch break on Wednesday June 24th, the Habitat Committee will report on several items with contributions from partner presenters. Agenda items include: (1) a Committee update on the development of habitat policies for aquaculture, submarine cables, and floating offshore wind technology; (2) an update on the Northeast Regional Marine Fish Habitat Assessment; (3) a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) briefing on the June 2020 Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Vineyard Wind project and other BOEM updates; (4) a NOAA Fisheries briefing on the Habitat Climate Vulnerability Assessment for the Northeast Region; and (5) an update from the Responsible Offshore Science Alliance. Next, the Council will receive a progress report on the collaborative effort between the Northeast Regional Ocean Council and the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance to update commercial fisheries data on the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portals. More information and a registration link can be found here.

US Department of Energy releases Request for Information on Offshore Wind Environmental Research and Related Technology

On June 3, 2020, the Department of Energy, in coordination with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service issued 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 is 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. Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to WindEnergyRFI@ee.doe.gov no later than 5:00 pm (ET) on July 7, 2020.

Week May 25

Coast Guard releases final MARIPARS report; recommendations consistent with draft

On May 27th, the Coast Guard published the final Massachusetts and Rhode Island Port Access Route Study (MARIPARS). After robust analysis, consistent with its draft study and AWEA's comments, the Coast Guard did not recommend requiring any additional vessel routing safety measures beyond the uniform turbine spacing and layout to which offshore wind developers already proactively committed in this area. As the Coast Guard said in the Notice of Availability of the Final Study, "No substantive changes were made to the report as a result of the comment period. Only minor editorial changes were made to the report." The Coast Guard did indicate that it will "continue to serve as a NEPA cooperating agency to BOEM's environmental review of each proposed project" and "will evaluate the navigational safety risks of each proposal on a case-by-case basis."

The Coast Guard indicated that 23 of the comments on the draft report were in support of the recommendations, 16 were opposed and nine of the comments were neutral. To follow is a summary of the main issues and recommendations:
  • Reject new routing measures
    • "USCG has determined that if the MA/RI WEA turbine layout is developed along a standard and uniform grid pattern, formal or informal vessel routing measures would not be required as such a grid pattern will result in the functional equivalent of numerous navigation corridors that can safety accommodate both transits through and fishing within the WEA."
    • "While these navigation corridors would be smaller than those suggested by some commenters, the USCG believes they should be sufficient to maintain navigational safety and provide vessels with multiple straight-line options to transit safely throughout the MA/RI WEA."
    • Specific turbine spacing and layout recommendations:
      • "Lanes for vessel transit should be oriented in a northwest to southeast direction, 0.6 NM to 0.8 NM wide. This width will allow vessels the ability to maneuver in accordance with the COLREGS while transiting through the MA/RI WEA.
      • Lanes for commercial fishing vessels actively engaged in fishing should be oriented in an east to west direction, 1 NM wide.
      • Lanes for USCG search and rescue operations should be oriented in a north to south and east to west direction, 1 NM wide. This will ensure two lines of orientation for USCG helicopters to conduct search and rescue operations."
  • Reject new study of radar impacts prior to finalizing MARIPARS recommendations
    • "The USCG has reviewed all available studies on radar interference and found that although these studies show that structures may have some effect upon radar, as discussed in the MARIPARS report, they do not render radar inoperable and do not inform planning decisions about turbine arrangement or spacing."
    • "Although the Coast Guard is confident that by following principles of prudent seamanship and utilizing all available bridge resources, including AIS, vessels can safely navigate through the WEA in most weather conditions, it will continue to evaluate operational effectiveness within wind farms as they are being developed. Additionally, the USCG will remain a participating member of the Wind Turbine Radar Interference Working Group which will continue to evaluate WTG impacts to marine radar and will recommend mitigation strategies through the BOEM leasing process as necessary."
  • Reject proposals to conduct a cost-benefit study
    • "While these economic impacts were addressed in some areas of the MARIPARS, the purpose of such limited examination was twofold: 1) to address how economic issues might impact behaviors with regards to safe navigation and 2) to find a balanced solution for navigation concerns that addresses both the proposed uses of the waterway and the traditional uses of the waterway."
    • "As MARIPARS is merely a study for the purpose of making recommendations, and not a regulatory action through which the Coast Guard is imposing a cost or other burden upon the public, the Coast Guard cannot complete such a study at this time."
    • "If, however, the Coast Guard were to later determine that it should take regulatory measures as a result of this study, it would then evaluate the economic aspects of the proposed regulatory activity as part of the rulemaking process."

Clean Energy Restart

NYSERDA issued additional updated guidance about what clean energy projects can resume ahead of Phase 1 reopenings in some regions. Most activities — work on "development, construction, operation and maintenance of renewable energy generation and storage, as well as electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for commercial and governmental sites may be continued, or started now statewide" — can resume statewide. However, new solar projects at homes must wait for Phase 1 reopenings, which are expected this week for Long Island and the mid-Hudson Valley regions. Sites with only one worker on site are also allowed to resume work. "It is imperative that we approach the return to work with full adherence to guidelines and protocols to ensure the health and safety of our clean energy workers and New Yorkers across the state," the state's clean energy agencies including NYSERDA wrote in a letter to stakeholders.

Connecticut DEEP issued Determination Letter on offshore wind project selection; EDCs file offshore wind PPAs with PURA

The state's two regulated electric distribution companies filed with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) executed power purchase agreements for 804 MWs of offshore wind. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), which selected the winning project, issued its Final Determination Letter on the selection process (attached) and a media statement

ISO-NE's economic studies on offshore wind and transmission

ISO-NE has released results from economic studies on transmission and offshore wind in New England in response to the requests from NESCOE and Anbaric. The most recent update on the NESCOE study show that based on the currently expected transmission system for 2030, the ISO anticipates 5,800 MW of offshore wind additions have the potential to be accomplished without major additional 345 kV reinforcements. This is consistent with previous ISO-NE reliability studies relating to the SEMA/RI zone and the ISO-NE 2016 Economic Study showing up to 5,370 MW of offshore wind could be added to the system without the need for major transmission upgrades. The study also examined how an HVDC connection could be used to continue to travel further distances and connect offshore wind beyond the 5,800 MW directly to the load centers without major onshore transmission upgrades. These two studies will be finalized in June or July.

Week May 18

AWEA-California continues push for regional wind transmission

AWEA-California provided information to the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) Energy Division staff about out-of-state resources and transmission. AWEA-California pointed to AWEA’s previous filings in California’s Integrated Resource Planning proceeding, which indicated strong commercial interest in new, utility-scale wind and robust competition among western utilities, considering states increasing their renewable portfolio standards. 

North Carolina's Department of Commerce issues a Request for Proposals on Offshore Wind Supply Chain & Infrastructure Assessments

On May 15, 2020, North Carolina issued a Request for Proposals focused on the offshore wind industry supply chain, build-out of the various supply chain sectors, port and other infrastructure requirements and recommended upgrades, and long-term service needs to inform OSW development firms, state and local decision-makers, and North Carolina industry. The objective is to determine how North Carolina can successfully position itself to compete in OSW, as well as pinpoint North Carolina's advantages to attract and develop key OSW industry segments such as blades, towers, wind turbines (nacelles), substation manufacturing and related equipment manufacturing, as well as project management and development, and construction staging. Proposals must be submitted by 2:00 PM on June 15, 2020.

US Coast Guard requests comments on potentially establishing a regulated anchorage ground offshore near the Cape Fear River, NC

On May 8th, the U.S. Coast Guard issued a notice requesting comments on a potential rulemaking to establish an anchorage ground offshore in the approaches to the Cape Fear River. The Coast Guard says this action is responding to requests suggesting an anchorage ground is necessary to accommodate current and future vessel traffic and improve navigation safety, and because offshore wind may impact traditional anchorage areas. The Coast Guard highlighted the wind energy and lease areas off the Carolinas identified in BOEM's "Path Forward" and is concerned that as these "wind energy areas are developed and electrical export cables installed, vessel traffic may be displaced or funneled into smaller areas, and areas traditionally used for anchoring may be impacted." The Coast Guard further opines that, "establishing an adequate and dedicated offshore anchorage will preserve areas traditionally used for anchoring and alleviate potential hazardous conditions of vessels anchoring in the common approaches to the Cape Fear River." It seeks comments in part on whether such an anchorage ground will facilitate offshore renewable energy development and associated economic activity. Comments on the notice are due July 7, 2020

US Coast Guard publishes a Notice of Port Access Route Study along the seacoast of New Jersey and approaches to the Delaware Bay and Request for Comments

On May 5, 2020, the U.S. Coast Guard issued a Notice that it will conduct a Port Access Route Study (PARS )that will analyze navigation routes to/from the seacoast of New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland including approaches to the Delaware Bay connecting to the proposed fairways outlined in the Atlantic Coast Port Access Study (ACPARS) including international routes to/from the United States. The study area extends approximately 175 nautical miles seaward including the offshore area of New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland used by private, commercial and public vessels transiting to and from these ports and is available for viewing on the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal here. The PARS will consider whether existing or additional routing measures are necessary to improve navigation safety due to factors such as planned or potential offshore development, including wind turbine placements and transmission corridors, current port capabilities and planned improvements, increased vessel traffic, existing and potential anchorage areas, changing vessel traffic patterns, weather conditions, or navigational difficulty. The Notice notes that similar to the ACPARS, it will use AIS data and information from stakeholders to identify and verify customary navigation routes as well as potential conflicts involving alternative activities, such as Offshore Renewable Energy Installations. Requests for a public meeting must be submitted on or before June 4, 2020. Comments and related material on the PARS must be received before July 6, 2020

Week May 11

Administration issues executive order on promoting seafood competitiveness and economic growth with potential impact on offshore wind

On Thursday May 7th, the White House issued an Executive Order on "Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth." In addition to promoting U.S. commercial fishing and aquaculture production, the EO provides that the Secretary of Commerce, in considering "specific geographic areas containing locations suitable for commercial aquaculture" "shall solicit and consider public comment and seek to minimize unnecessary resource use conflicts as appropriate, including conflicts with ….offshore renewable energy." 

AWEA places offshore wind op-ed in leading maritime industry publication

Last week, an op-ed by Laura Morton, AWEA's Senior Director leading our offshore wind work, ran in The Maritime Executive, the leading maritime industry publication that is also widely read by policymakers. Citing AWEA's recently released offshore wind economic benefits report, the op-ed describes the enormous potential for offshore wind to contribute to our nation's economic recovery, including through jobs and investments in supply chain, manufacturing, ports and logistics, and transmission, among other areas. 

AWEA places offshore wind op-ed in the Virginia Mercury News

AWEA placed an op-ed in the Virginia Mercury news celebrating passage of the Virginia Clean Economy Act and touting offshore wind's ability to help lead the post-pandemic economic recovery. "At a time of unparalleled economic uncertainty, offshore wind's benefits are too high to risk missing out on, and it may be a long time before we get another opportunity this big," writes Andrew Gohn, AWEA's Eastern State Affairs Directory. You can read the full piece here
   

Series of Webinars on Virginia Offshore Wind = Onshore Jobs on May 21, May 27 and June 2, 2020.

The Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club will be hosting a series of webinars on the array of job opportunities for Virginians, and the educational and training programs supporting Virginia's entrance into the offshore wind industry. The webinars include: 1) Introduction to Virginia offshore wind development, lay on the land (Thurs., May 21, 3-4:30 pm); 2) Pre-assembly and installation jobs (Wed., May 27, 3-4:30 pm); and 3) Training and educational opportunities supporting offshore wind in Virginia (Tues., June 2, 3-4:30 pm). More information and registration can be found here

DOE hosting the second in a series of webinars on May 18th focused Offshore Wind Turbine Radar Interference Mitigation

On May 18th from 9:00 a.m.-11:00 MT, the Wind Turbine Radar Interference Mitigation (WTRIM) Working Group, a consortium of federal agencies composed of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will hold a follow-on webinar to discuss research needs for offshore wind development that may impact sensitive radar systems. The goals of the webinar include building relationships between key industry stakeholders and agencies around offshore wind-radar issues, obtaining government and industry perspectives on potential impacts of offshore wind on radar missions, as well as obtaining a better understanding of the future direction of the offshore wind market. Registration for the webinar can be found here.

Virtual Meeting of the Regional Fishery Management Council Coordination Committee scheduled for May 27-May 28th

The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (WPFMC) will host a virtual meeting of the Council Coordination Committee (CCC), consisting of the Regional Fishery Management Council chairs, vice chairs, and executive directors on May 27 to May 28, 2020. Issues related to offshore wind will be covered on May 27th. Updates to this meeting and additional information will be posted here and here when available, typically one week prior to the meeting. Presentations and handouts will be made available at the meeting. 

AWEA releases First Quarter 2020 Market Report

AWEA released the Wind Powers America 1Q 2020 Report on April 29. The U.S. wind industry commissioned 1,821 MW of wind power capacity in the first three months of 2020, bringing U.S. wind capacity to 107,443 MW. Construction activity reached a new record of 24,690 MW at the end of the first quarter, with an additional 19,751 MW in advanced development. The near-term pipeline totals over 44 GW, representing a 14 percent year-over-year increase, thanks to strong demand from utilities and corporate purchasers and offshore wind procurements. Developers and power purchasers announced 2,859 MW of new PPAs in the first quarter, the highest volume on record for one quarter. On the offshore front, Virginia enacted a target to develop 5,200 MW of offshore wind by 2030, Massachusetts utilities signed contracts for the 804 Mayflower Wind project, and Maryland opened its second offshore wind solicitation.

Week May 4

Court sets appeal schedule for fishing industry case against offshore leasing process

On April 13th, the Fisheries Survival Fund (a scallop industry's trade group), other commercial fishing groups, and a handful of local governments filed a notice of appeal of a lower court decision rejecting their challenge to Equinor's planned wind development off the coast of Long Island. While the challenge is specifically to the issuance of Equinor's lease, if successful, the suit would have broad implications for BOEM’s entire competitive leasing process. Impacts could include potentially requiring an environmental impact statement done at the outset of the process rather than right before the construction phase. The Court's scheduling order requires that procedural motions, such as a motion to intervene in the case, be filed by May 18.

US Coast Guard issues notice requesting comments on whether it should consider a a proposed rulemaking to establish a regulated anchorage ground offshore in the approaches to the Cape Fear River, NC

On Thursday, May 7th, the U.S. Coast Guard issued a notice requesting comments on a potential rulemaking to establish an anchorage ground offshore in the approaches to the Cape Fear River. The Coast Guard states this action is being taken in response to requests suggesting an anchorage ground is necessary to accommodate current and future vessel traffic, improve navigation safety, and because traditional anchorage areas may be impacted by offshore renewable energy development. The Coast Guard highlights the wind energy and lease areas offshore the Carolinas identified in BOEM's "Path Forward" and states that that it is concerned that as these "wind energy areas are developed and electrical export cables installed, vessel traffic may be displaced or funneled into smaller areas, and areas traditionally used for anchoring may be impacted." The Coast Guard further expresses the opinion that: "establishing an adequate and dedicated offshore anchorage will preserve areas traditionally used for anchoring and alleviate potential hazardous conditions of vessels anchoring in the common approaches to the Cape Fear River." It seeks comments in part on whether such an anchorage ground will facilitate offshore renewable energy development and associated economic activity. Comments on the notice are due July 7, 2020.

AWEA and DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office held webinar on DOE Program update and research priorities

On Tuesday May 5th, 2020 AWEA and the U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Energy Technologies Office held an informational webinar highlighting key U.S. government investments and partnerships with the wind industry in driving wind energy research and innovation. The decades-long partnership between DOE, its National Laboratories, and the wind industry underlie many of the technical advancements in scale, efficiency, reduced costs, and public acceptance that have led to the dramatic expansion of wind energy in the United States. This growth, which now positions wind as the #1 source of renewable electric power, has spurred economic and environmental benefits across all 50 states. 
   

Webinar on AWEA Offshore Wind Power US Economic Impact Assessment & Launch of #Support Offshore Wind Campaign

On April 20th, AWEA held a webinar on the recently released report, U.S. Offshore Wind Power Economic Impact Assessment and the coinciding launch of the #SupportOffshoreWind campaign and website. The report details the huge, once-in-a-generation opportunity that offshore wind can bring to the U.S. with up to 30,000 MW of capacity and 83,000 jobs by 2030. These numbers make it clear the importance of supporting offshore wind and the Support Offshore Wind campaign will give you the tools and resources to help ensure we realize these benefits as a country. In addition to gaining important insights into these market projections and resources, attendees heard polling results from a recent voter opinion survey on support for offshore wind and an update on the latest state of play for offshore wind amid COVID-19 concerns. A recording and slides for the webinar are available in the AWEA bookstore.

AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition 2020 call for abstracts

AWEA is accepting abstracts until May 31 for the AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition 2020, scheduled for October 2020. AWEA will notify the primary authors of the abstracts via email whether or not their abstracts were selected by August 2020. More information can be found here

Wind Powers America Annual Report 2019 Release

AWEA released the Wind Powers America Annual Report 2019 to members on April 14 and to the public on April 16. The report shows wind power was America's top choice for new power in 2019 after installing 9.1 GW, representing 39% of new utility-scale power. In addition, wind energy is now the largest provider of renewable energy in the country, supplying 7.2% of the nation’s electricity in 2019.

The U.S. wind industry now directly employs 120,000 Americans, spread across all 50 states, including 26,000 manufacturing workers at over 530 factories in 43 states. Further, wind projects have delivered over $900 million in state and local tax payments and $700 million in land-lease payments in 2019. Combined with $14 billion of capital investment in new projects, the wind industry continues to be a source of economic growth for the country. On the environmental front, wind projects helped to avoid 198 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 232,000 metric tons of sulfur dioxide, and 168,000 metric tons of nitrogen oxides in 2019.

Demand for wind energy set a record in 2019, as utilities and corporate buyers announced over 8,700 MW of new wind power purchase agreements (PPAs). Fueled by this demand, there are currently 44 GW of wind projects under construction or in advanced development.

As part of the report roll-out, AWEA has also updated a variety of resources:
  • You can download a copy of the report here.
  • The Executive Summary of the report is available here
  • If you missed the member webinar, you can view it here.
  • AWEA's state fact sheets are updated with new job, economic impact, environmental benefit, and capacity data.
  • Facts at a glance.

Week Apr. 27

AWEA and DOE Wind Energy Technologies Office hold May 5th webinar on DOE Program update and research priorities

Please join AWEA and the U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Energy Technologies Office on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, at 1:00-2:00 pm EST for an informational webinar highlighting key U.S. government investments and partnerships with the wind industry in driving wind energy research and innovation. The decades-long partnership between DOE, its National Laboratories, and the wind industry underlie many of the technical advancements in scale, efficiency, reduced costs, and public acceptance that have led to the dramatic expansion of wind energy in the United States. This growth, which now positions wind as the #1 source of renewable electric power, has spurred economic and environmental benefits across all 50 states. Come see what DOE has planned for its future research programs in offshore, land-based, and distributed wind; in atmospheric, environmental and siting research; and in the integration of increasing amounts of wind power on the grid. The registration link can be found here.

BOEM announces release of two studies on renewable energy in the Gulf of Mexico

On April 23rd, BOEM announced the availability of two studies on ocean energy in the Gulf of Mexico. Following the results of the first study, which found that offshore wind showed the greatest resource potential in the Gulf, BOEM and NREL conducted a second study on the economic feasibility for offshore wind at selected sites and the economic impact of one offshore wind site. The analysis in the study titled "Offshore Wind in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico: Regional Economic Modeling & Site-Specific Analyses" determined that a 600 MW wind project off the coast of Port Arthur with a commercial operation date of 2030 could support approximately 4,470 jobs and $445 million in gross domestic product during construction and an ongoing 150 jobs and $14 million annually from operation and maintenance labor, materials, and services. BOEM notes that the results of these studies will inform Federal, State, and local strategic renewable energy planning over the next decade.

Comments on the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) Second Request for Comment on Massachusetts Offshore Wind Transmission are now available.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources has now posted stakeholder comments received in response to its March 19, 2020, Second Request for Comment on Massachusetts Offshore Wind Transmission. The comments received in response to this Second Request are available here. Other materials related to Offshore Wind Transmission, including the first round of stakeholder comments and materials from the technical conference, are available here.
   

AWEA member companies provide COVID relief in communities nationwide.

AWEA member companies provide COVID relief in communities nationwide. As the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to impact communities across the country and the broader economy, AWEA members throughout the wind energy supply chain are taking charitable steps to give back to their communities in their time of need, providing support to emergency relief organizations and initiatives while continuing to execute their own business continuity plans under challenging conditions. AWEA launched a dedicated web page on its COVID-19 info hub featuring the generous relief efforts being made by member companies which will be updated regularly. 

AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition 2020 call for abstracts

AWEA is accepting abstracts until May 31 for the AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition 2020, scheduled for October 2020. AWEA will notify the primary authors of the abstracts via email whether or not their abstracts were selected by August 2020. More information can be found here

AWEA Wind Standards Call for Participation

The AWEA Wind Standards Committees and Subordinate Groups play an important role in helping develop standards for the wind energy industry. Standards play an important role in everyday life. Standards help speed acceptance, bring products to market quicker, and avoid having to reinvent the wheel every time a product is manufactured. Participation in committees and subordinate groups is open to all materially affected parties. Here are the following offshore groups:
  • Offshore Wind Subcommittee of the WTSC and the Offshore Wind Working Groups: Floating Offshore, Geotech and Geophysical Offshore, Metocean Offshore, OCRP 2012 Maintenance Offshore, Submarine Cables Offshore Working Group.
  • Offshore Safety Subcommittee of the WEHSSC
  • Offshore Safety Training Subcommittee of the WEHSSC
Click here for descriptions for all committees and subordinate groups. Contact standards@awea.org if you would like to participate. 

Week Apr. 20

New England Fisheries Management Council holds virtual meeting covering offshore wind

NEFMC's Habitat Joint Committee and Advisory Panel held a virtual meeting on April 21st that will include presentations on offshore wind, including submarine cables, floating wind, a Responsible Offshore Development Alliance survey on lighting and marking, an update on the Coast Guard’s draft MARIPARS report, and an update on RODA, Northeast Ocean Council (NROC), and Mid-Atlantic Offshore Regional Council on the Ocean’s (MARCO) Date Portal. Information and presentations can be found here

Wind Turbine Radar Interference Mitigation Working Group hosts a Virtual Meeting on R&D needs for Offshore Wind Development.

On April 20th, a consortium of federal agencies composed of the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Federal Aviation Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Department of Homeland Security held the first in a series of webinars to discuss research needs for offshore wind development that may impact sensitive radar systems. AWEA is on the Steering Committee developing the content for webinars. More information regarding the webinar can be found here. DOE will post notices of further webinars on their website.

Webinar on AWEA Offshore Wind Power US Economic Impact Assessment & Launch of #Support Offshore Wind Campaign

On April 20th, AWEA held a webinar on the recently released report, U.S. Offshore Wind Power Economic Impact Assessment and the coinciding launch of the #SupportOffshoreWind campaign and website. The report details the huge, once-in-a-generation opportunity that offshore wind can bring to the U.S. with up to 30,000 MW of capacity and 83,000 jobs by 2030. These numbers make it clear the importance of supporting offshore wind and the Support Offshore Wind campaign will give you the tools and resources to help ensure we realize these benefits as a country. In addition to gaining important insights into these market projections and resources, attendees heard polling results from a recent voter opinion survey on support for offshore wind and an update on the latest state of play for offshore wind amid COVID-19 concerns. A recording and slides for the webinar are available in the AWEA bookstore.

Public Comments filed in response to the NYSERDA's Petition Regarding Offshore Wind Procurement Authorization for 2020 Procurement

On April 20, 2020, public comments were filed in response to the PSC's proposed rulemaking regarding the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority's request for authorization to procure Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Certificates (ORECs) associated with between 1,000 megawatts (MWs) and 2,500 MWs of offshore wind in a 2020 solicitation. The comments and NYSERDA's request can be found here

Massachusetts 2020 Offshore Wind Workforce Training and Development Solicitation

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is inviting proposals for the Massachusetts 2020 Offshore Wind Workforce Training and Development Solicitation. This is MassCEC's second solicitation relating to offshore wind workforce development. Through this solicitation, MassCEC aims to build upon and expand its support for offshore wind workforce training and development throughout the Commonwealth. The completed Application and all other documentation should be submitted to offshorewind@masscec.com

AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition 2020 call for abstracts

AWEA is accepting abstracts until May 31 for the AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition 2020, scheduled for October 2020. AWEA will notify the primary authors of the abstracts via email whether or not their abstracts were selected by August 2020. More information can be found here

Update on AWEA state-by-state stay-at-home orders database, including essential critical infrastructure workers info

Last week, states and jurisdictions continued to issue and update state stay-at-home orders and guidance applicable to wind workers. A few highlights:
  • More states, including New York and Pennsylvania, now require essential workers to wear masks and follow enhanced safety protocols.
  • California now allows gig economy workers to file for unemployment benefits. In an executive order, Gov. Newsom noted that "employer misclassification of workers as independent contractors has been a problem in [California] for many years."
AWEA's legal team is working to provide up-to-date information on these requirements, prioritizing the states that have the highest number of critical infrastructure workers in wind. 

AWEA Wind Standards Call for Participation

The AWEA Wind Standards Committees and Subordinate Groups play an important role in helping develop standards for the wind energy industry. Standards play an important role in everyday life. Standards help speed acceptance, bring products to market quicker, and avoid having to reinvent the wheel every time a product is manufactured. Participation in committees and subordinate groups is open to all materially affected parties. Here are the following offshore groups:
  • Offshore Wind Subcommittee of the WTSC and the Offshore Wind Working Groups: Floating Offshore, Geotech and Geophysical Offshore, Metocean Offshore, OCRP 2012 Maintenance Offshore, Submarine Cables Offshore Working Group.
  • Offshore Safety Subcommittee of the WEHSSC
  • Offshore Safety Training Subcommittee of the WEHSSC
Click here for descriptions for all committees and subordinate groups. Contact standards@awea.org if you would like to participate. 

Week Apr. 13

Virginia Governor signs the Virginia Clean Economy Act

Governor Ralph Northam has signed the Virginia Clean Economy Act. The bill sets a strong RPS and a carbon-free date of 2045. It also includes 5,200 MW of offshore wind. The Act requires Dominion Energy Virginia to prioritize hiring local workers from historically disadvantaged communities, to work with the Commonwealth to advance apprenticeship and job training, and to include an environmental and fisheries mitigation plan.
 

Webinar on AWEA Offshore Wind Power U.S. Economic Impact Assessment & Launch of #Support Offshore Wind Campaign

This webinar, held on Monday April 20th from 3PM-4PM, will cover AWEA's recently released report, U.S. Offshore Wind Power Economic Impact Assessment and the coinciding launch of the #SupportOffshoreWind campaign and website. The report details the huge, once-in-a-generation opportunity that offshore wind can bring to the U.S. with up to 30,000 MW of capacity and 83,000 jobs by 2030. These numbers make it clear the importance of supporting offshore wind and the Support Offshore Wind campaign will give you the tools and resources to help ensure we realize these benefits as a country. In addition to gaining important insights into these market projections and resources, you’ll hear polling results from a recent voter opinion survey on support for offshore wind and an update on the latest state of play for offshore wind amid COVID-19 concerns. Register here.

Fisheries Survival Fund v. Bernhardt Notice of Appeal

On April 13, 2020, Plaintiffs Fisheries' Survival Fund filed a notice of appeal in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals of the February 14, 2020, decision of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in Fisheries' Survival Fund v. Bernhardt. The District Court denied the motion of the Plaintiffs (an alliance of scallop vessel operators, and other groups and fishing communities) to alter or amend the judgment of the court's September 2018 decision rejecting their challenge to the New York offshore wind energy lease. AWEA participated and filed briefs in the case explaining the importance of maintaining BOEM's current lease process for the wind industry.

Update on AWEA state-by-state stay-at-home orders database, including info on essential critical infrastructure workers

AWEA's legal team has been tracking new and updated state stay-at-home orders and guidance. We're providing interpretations on what these mean for essential critical infrastructure workers in the wind industry.

Of note, late last week, many states and jurisdictions issued new guidance, recommendations, and/or orders regarding the use of PPE and COVID-19 testing priorities as they relate to critical infrastructure workers, with some mandates going into effect as early as April 13. For example, New Jersey issued a directive requiring employers of all essential manufacturing and construction workers to provide workers with a minimum of cloth masks and gloves.

CDC issues guidance for essential workers exposed or potentially exposed to COVID-19, as well as updated guidance for employers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued interim guidance titled, "Implementing Safe Practices for Critical Infrastructure Workers Who May Have Had Exposure to a Person with Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19." It includes recommendations related to pre-screening, monitoring, mask usage, social distancing, and cleaning/disinfecting workspaces. The CDC also issued "Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019." This document was updated in late March.

OSHA issues enforcement guidance for respiratory protection equipment use

On April 3, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued two interim enforcement guidance documents for respiratory protection equipment titled "Enforcement Guidance for Respiratory Protection and the N95 Shortage Due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic" and "Enforcement Guidance for Use of Respiratory Protection Equipment Certified under Standards of Other Countries or Jurisdictions During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic." The interim enforcement guidance for N95 mask shortages outlines enforcement discretion to permit the extended use and reuse of respirators, as well as the use of respirators that are beyond their manufacturer's recommended shelf life. The interim enforcement guidance on equipment certification outlines enforcement discretion to permit the use of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) and air-purifying elastomeric respirators that are either: (1) certified under certain standards of other countries or jurisdictions (which OSHA outlines) or (2) previously certified under the standards of other countries or jurisdictions but are beyond their manufacturer’s recommended shelf life (which will allow the usage of the KN95 FFRs).

ACHP Guidance on COVID-19 and Conducting Section 106 Consultations.

On April 3, 2020, ACHP released guidance on the Section 106 review process in light of impacts from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak . While ACHP does not at present envision any changes in managing project reviews under Section 106, the ACHP “has advised federal agencies that the Section 106 process is “paused” when the Tribal Historic Preservation Office, Indian tribe, or Native Hawaiian organization is closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The ACHP is encouraging agencies to be flexible with Section 106 deadlines when they have reason to believe the relevant consulting parties may be facing challenged in meeting deadlines due to the outbreak.” More information related to the guidance, including resources for federal agencies to consult to determine if there is a pause, can be found here.

New England Fisheries Management Council April webinar

NEFMC is holding a webinar on April 21st that will include floating offshore wind. The committee will receive general updates on habitat-related actions and projects. They plan to discuss and provide feedback on development of habitat policies for aquaculture, submarine cables, and floating offshore wind. The committee will discuss and provide feedback on issues related to offshore wind development. Click here for more information.

Week of Apr. 6

CLEANPOWER 2020 Update

On Monday April 7th, AWEA announced the cancellation of the first annual CLEANPOWER Conference and Exhibition due to the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. COVID-19 government imposed physical and legal impediments including quarantines, stay-at-home orders, and travel restrictions, and concerns over the well-being and safety of all attendees, exhibitors and staff, result in CLEANPOWER 2020 no longer being viable. View the press release here.

Voters strongly favor offshore wind energy

New Polling shows near identical support among Republicans and Democrats for adding more offshore wind to the American energy portfolio. According to a national survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies March 16-19, 2020 and released today by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Over 80 percent of the nation’s voters favor offshore wind energy, with widespread support coming from both major political parties and every demographic group across the country. The Polling Summary and Full Results can be found here.

Webinar: AWEA Wind Powers America Annual Report 2019

On Tuesday, April 14, 2020, from 2:00-3:00 p.m., AWEA will host a webinar on its Wind Powers America Annual Report 2019. The report provides a comprehensive look at the U.S. wind energy industry, including wind projects, wind turbine and component manufacturing, market rankings and key industry players, market trends, and the economic and environmental impact of the U.S. wind energy industry. Please join us by registering here.

AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition 2020 Call for Abstracts

The Call for Abstracts for the AWEA Offshore WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition 2020 is now open and accepting submissions until May 31st. The primary authors of the abstracts will be notified via email whether or not their abstracts were selected by August 2020. More information can be found here.

The Massachusetts 2020 Offshore Wind Workforce Training and Development Solicitation

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) is inviting proposals for the Massachusetts 2020 Offshore Wind Workforce Training and Development Solicitation. This is MassCEC’s second solicitation relating to offshore wind workforce development. Through this solicitation, MassCEC aims to build upon and expand its support for offshore wind workforce training and development throughout the Commonwealth. The completed Application and all other documentation should be submitted to offshorewind@masscec.com.

AWEA Wind Technical Standards Committee Offshore Wind Subcommittee meeting

The AWEA Wind Technical Standards Committee Offshore Wind Subcommittee will meet virtually April 17 and April 24. The group will convene during an opening plenary on Friday, April 17 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM, Eastern, click here to register, and a closing plenary on Friday, April 24, 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM, Eastern, click here to register. The five working groups will meet during the week of April 20, meeting dates and times are determined by the working group chairs. The first meeting provides an overview of subcommittee and working group progress. The second meeting provides an update on working group meetings from the week of April 20 and discuss next steps. Contact standards@awea.org for more information.

Week of Mar. 30

New England Fisheries Management Council April webinar

NEFMC is holding a webinar on April 21st that will include floating offshore wind. The committee will receive general updates on habitat-related actions and projects. They plan to discuss and provide feedback on development of habitat policies for aquaculture, submarine cables, and floating offshore wind. The committee will discuss and provide feedback on issues related to offshore wind development. Click here for more information.

Energy Department announces $20M investment in offshore wind resource characterization and technology demonstration

On Wednesday, April 21st, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a $20 million investment in offshore wind energy resource characterization and technology demonstrations. This Funding Opportunity Announcement supports offshore wind development by improving the ability to forecast energy production, and by demonstrating innovative technologies not yet deployed at commercial scale. Concept papers are due Thursday, April 30, 2020. Read the Progress Alert from DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

Offshore Wind Turbine Radar Interference Webinar

The Wind Turbine Radar Interference Mitigation Working Group, a consortium of federal agencies composed of the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Federal Aviation Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the Department of Homeland Security are holding a virtual webinar to discuss research needs for offshore wind development that may impact sensitive radar systems. The webinar will be on April 20th, 2020 from 11:00AM-1:00PM ET. The goals of the webinar include building relationships between key industry stakeholders and agencies around offshore wind-radar issues, obtaining government and industry perspectives on potential impacts of offshore wind on radar missions, as well as obtaining a better understanding of the future direction of the offshore wind market.

Registration is required no later than April 17, 2020. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

AWEA's COVID-19 webpage contains important resources to assist in operations and state advocacy efforts, including:

 - A state-by-state summary of Guidance on Identifying Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers, as it relates to the wind industry;
​ - A template letter that can be used for Governor outreach to encourage the adoption of the DHS, CISA guidance; and
​ - An explanatory sheet that can be used to explain why wind energy workers

Updated Department of Homeland Security Guidance Essential Workers

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency recently posted a March 28, 2020 updated version of its Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response. The guidance explicitly makes clear that workers supporting the renewable industry should be considered essential and includes seven classes: construction, manufacturing, transportation, permitting, O&M, monitoring, and logistics, with supply chain still included in the manufacturing section.

Please note that this guidance is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered, a federal directive or standard. Additionally, this advisory list is not intended to be the exclusive list of critical infrastructure sectors, workers, and functions that should continue during the COVID-19 response across all jurisdictions. States and localities have the discretion to add or subtract essential workforce categories and importantly, these jurisdictions possess the police powers to enforce any restrictions in place.

New or amended DHS Guidance provisions of note include, the following under the energy section:

​ - "Workers supporting the energy sector, regardless of the energy source (including but not limited to nuclear, fossil, hydroelectric, or renewable), segment of the system, or infrastructure the worker is involved in, or who are needed to monitor, operate, engineer, and maintain the reliability, safety, environmental health, and physical and cyber security of the energy system."

- "Workers supporting the energy sector through renewable energy infrastructure (including, but not limited to wind, solar, biomass, hydrogen, ocean, geothermal, and/or hydroelectric), including those supporting construction, manufacturing, transportation, permitting, operation/maintenance, monitoring, and logistics."

And within the electricity section of the energy section:

​ - "Workers at renewable energy infrastructure (including, but not limited to wind, solar, biomass, hydrogen, geothermal, and/or hydroelectric), including those supporting construction, manufacturing, transportation, permitting, operation/maintenance, monitoring, and logistics."

In addition, helpful provisions in the earlier version remain, including:

​ - "Workers who maintain, ensure, or restore, or are involved in the development, transportation, fuel procurement, expansion, or operation of the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power, including call centers, utility workers, engineers, retail electricity, constraint maintenance, and fleet maintenance technicians- who cannot perform their duties remotely."

​ - "IT and OT technology for essential energy sector operations including support workers, customer service operations; energy management systems, control systems, and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition SCADA systems, and energy sector entity data centers; cybersecurity engineers; and cybersecurity risk management." (revised slightly)

​ - "Workers at generation, transmission, and electric black start facilities."

Week of Mar. 23

AWEA is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

We’re working to understand the virus’ impact on the U.S. wind industry and global supply chains, and our focus remains protecting American jobs and our workforce. We will continue to keep you updated with information on this fluid situation. More information and resources can be found here.

AWEA files comments on proposed National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reform

AWEA recently filed comments on the Council for Environmental Quality's proposed reforms for environmental reviews under NEPA. The comments support several of the procedural efficiencies, including presumptive time and page limits for NEPA documents, and enhanced use of categorical exclusions. The comments also argue that federal agencies have a duty to include a robust discussion of the impacts related to federal authorizations on greenhouse gas emissions and, in turn, climate change.

AWEA files comments on proposed Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) incidental take rule

AWEA recently filed comments on the Department of Interior's proposed rule to codify the Solicitor's office's legal opinion concluding MBTA's prohibitions apply only to actions directed at (i.e., intentional take of) migratory birds and does not apply to incidental take. Without taking a position on the proposal, our comments state that regardless of whether it is finalized, AWEA anticipates that our members will continue their practice of adhering to the Wind Energy Guidelines to provide conservation benefits to migratory birds.

BOEM funding letter - House

Last week, Rep. Rice (D-NY) submitted to the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee a letter advocating for funding BOEM's renewable energy program at no less than $26.5 million, the level the President's FY21 budget requests. Sixteen Members of Congress, including one Republican (Rep. Timmons of South Carolina), cosigned this letter.

Offshore Wind Transmission Comment Request

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) issued a Request for Comment on Massachusetts Offshore Wind Transmission on January 15. Written stakeholder comments submitted in response to the request are available here. DOER and MassCEC also hosted a technical conference on Massachusetts Offshore Wind Transmission in Boston on March 3. Materials from the conference are available here.

This week, DOER announced a Second Request for Comment on Massachusetts Offshore Wind Transmission to allow stakeholders to respond to the first round of written comments and the discussion at the technical conference. All interested stakeholders and members of the public are encouraged to provide written comments to Marian Swain (marian.swain@mass.gov) by April 21.

Maryland PSC Offshore Wind Application - Round 2 Submission Round 2

On Friday, March 20. 2020, Maryland PSC opened Round 2 of its Offshore Wind Solicitation. The portal for the submission can be found here.

AWEA Wind Standards Call for Participation

The AWEA Wind Standards Committees and Subordinate Groups play an important role in helping develop standards for the wind energy industry. Standards play an important role in everyday life. Standards help speed acceptance, bring products to market quicker, and avoid having to reinvent the wheel every time a product is manufactured. Participation in committees and subordinate groups is open to all materially affected parties. Here are the following offshore groups:

1. Offshore Wind Subcommittee of the WTSC and the Offshore Wind Working Groups: Floating Offshore, Geotech and Geophysical Offshore, Metocean Offshore, OCRP 2012 Maintenance Offshore, Submarine Cables Offshore Working Group.
2. Offshore Safety Subcommittee of the WEHSSC
3. Offshore Safety Training Subcommittee of the WEHSSC

Click here for descriptions for all committees and subordinate groups. Contact standards@awea.org if you would like to participate.

Week of Mar. 16

AWEA files comments on US Coast Guard's draft MARIPARS report

On March 16th, AWEA filed comments in response to the U.S. Coast Guard's (USCG) draft Massachusetts and Rhode Island Port Access Route Study (MARIPARS). AWEA's comments support the USCG recommendations, including the recommendation that no additional routing measures are needed with a standard and uniform grid pattern with at least three lines of orientation and standard spacing. AWEA agrees the evidence in the draft report demonstrates that this pattern, orientation and spacing safely accommodate vessel transits, traditional fishing operations and search and rescue operations in the MA/RI areas. AWEA also strongly urged the USCG to finalize the MARIPARS consistent with the draft report as soon as possible. And, AWEA urged that the recommendations on pattern, orientation and spacing in the draft MARIPARS not become default recommendations applied to all other offshore wind lease areas.

AWEA files comments on NOAA RFI on Efficient Permitting of Ocean Research, Mapping, and Characterizing Activities

On February 10th, NOAA, on behalf of the Ocean Policy Committee, Ocean Resource Management Subcommittee, OSTP and CEQ, filed a notice of request for information from the public on the permitting process for ocean research, mapping, and characterization activities. On March 12th, AWEA filed comments, which highlight opportunities that are aligned with ongoing Administration actions to streamline and improve decision-making within and across BOEM and coordinating agencies: NOAA, EPA, Army Corps, and several others in addition to associated state and local permitting and authorizing agencies. AWEA's recommendations focus on four main points:

1. amount of survey activity for offshore wind development;
2. intra-and interagency coordination;
3. integration of new technology and tools for surveys and for the permitting framework; and
4. realignment of government resources to support growing demand of survey efforts from growth of the wind industry.

The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to examine the President's DOI budget request

Rep. Lowenthal (D-CA) lamented the existence of no offshore wind farms erected in federal waters and voiced support for building projects. Rep. Graves (R-LA) said that there is significant potential for wind in the U.S. and wants to help convert potential into reality, when possible. BOEM Director, Walter Cruickshank discussed the opportunities for offshore wind and BOEM's existing workload regarding lease processing, permit issuance, and COP reviews. He also offered an overview of the Vineyard project and recently updated timeline for the supplemental EIS release. Click here to read more.

Offshore Wind Transmission Comment Request

DOER and MassCEC issued a Request for Comment on Massachusetts Offshore Wind Transmission on January 15, 2020. Written stakeholder comments submitted in response to the request are available here. DOER and MassCEC also hosted a technical conference on Massachusetts Offshore Wind Transmission in Boston on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Materials from the conference are available here.

DOER is issuing a Second Request for Comment on Massachusetts Offshore Wind Transmission to allow stakeholders to respond to the first round of written comments and the discussion at the technical conference.

All interested stakeholders and members of the public are encouraged to provide written comments to Marian Swain (marian.swain@mass.gov) by Tuesday, April 21, 2020. If you have any questions, please email marian.swain@mass.gov.

AWEA California moderates panel on West Coast offshore wind

On Wednesday March 11, AWEA-CA's Danielle Osborn Mills moderated a panel on offshore wind during the monthly Power Association of Northern California luncheon. Tyler Studds, Offshore Wind Development Project Manager for EDPR, and Matthew Marshall, Executive Director of the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, participated in the discussion around global, state, and local opportunities for offshore wind. Participants included roughly 50 energy policy practitioners, consultants, utility, and agency staff, who had a number of questions about the challenges and opportunities presented by floating offshore wind, as well as near-term actions to move the industry forward.

AWEA California testifies on planning for offshore wind

On Thursday March 12, Danielle Osborn Mills testified on offshore wind during a hearing of the Joint Committee on Fisheries & Aquaculture in the California legislature. Her presentation focused on the need for statewide planning to bring the industry to scale, and emphasized opportunities for stakeholder engagement and collaboration.

Week of Mar. 9

AWEA releases US Offshore Wind Power Economic Impact Assessment

The report provides an overview of the potential jobs and economic impact that will accompany the growth of the U.S. offshore wind market. It projects that offshore wind project development, construction, and operations will support up to 83,000 jobs and $25 billion per year in economic output by 2030. Market projections anticipate between 20,000 to 30,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind capacity will be operational by 20301, representing between $28 – $57 billion of investment in the U.S. economy. This report assesses the economic impact potential of the offshore wind industry over the next decade. Download the full report here.

AWEA launches new offshore wind advocacy site

On March 11th, AWEA launched the #Support Offshore Wind campaign and website. The site features the newly released U.S. Offshore Wind Power Economic Impact Assessment, as well as video testimonials from Gulf Coast marine workers who all had a hand in building the Block Island Wind Farm and are eager to take their skills and apply them to working in the offshore wind industry. Watch the full video here and look for the individual cuts on AWEA social channels.

CLEANPOWER early bird deadline

Registration remains open and plans are still underway for CLEANPOWER 2020. The early bird deadline has been extended to April 10, 2020. We hope this allows you to plan your trip to Denver this June with confidence. In addition to an Offshore Pavilion on the exhibition show floor, the event will feature dedicated educational content including the following sessions:

 - Precon: Floating Offshore Wind: The Future of Offshore Wind is HERE with Commercial Deployments
 - Offshore Wind - Moving the Needle Together with Onshore Wind
 - Contextualizing State-Level Offshore Wind Procurement Policies in the United States
 - OEM Outlook for Wind, Solar, & Storage - What's Next?
 - Tactics Employed and Lessons Learned from Offshore Drilling Fight

Register here.

AWEA-California pushes for 10 GW offshore wind goal

AWEA-California pushes for 10 GW offshore wind goal: AWEA-California is working with Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) to draft legislation calling for a 10 GW by 2040 offshore wind statewide planning effort. The California team is working to build a coalition of support from environmental groups and labor advocates and hopes to see California realize offshore wind’s potential economic and environmental benefits as it transitions to 100% clean energy.

Acting Director Cruickshank testified on BOEM budget

On Tuesday, March 10th, Walter Cruickshank, the Acting Director of Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, testified before the House Natural Resources Committee on the FY21 Budget for BOEM. Cruickshank spoke on a number of issues including the cumulative impact analysis for offshore wind projects. The full testimony is available here.

This week, DOER announced a Second Request for Comment on Massachusetts Offshore Wind Transmission to allow stakeholders to respond to the first round of written comments and the discussion at the technical conference. All interested stakeholders and members of the public are encouraged to provide written comments to Marian Swain (marian.swain@mass.gov) by April 21.

Virginia Clean Economy Act sent to Governor

Senate Bill 851, the Virginia Clean Economy Act, passed the Senate 22-17 on March 6 and will be sent to Governor Northam for his signature. This is a huge step forward for renewable energy in the south and for offshore wind. The bill sets a strong RPS and a carbon-free date of 2045. It also includes 5,200 MW of offshore wind. AWEA, members, and regional partner MAREC Action advocated for this bill by meeting with legislators and stakeholders to gain consensus. AWEA also provided economic benefit projections and activated grassroots in the state.

New Jersey releases offshore wind solicitation schedule

On March 6th, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy proposed a series of five solicitations for offshore wind energy proposals. The first solicitation would be initiated by September 2020 with four additional through 2029. New Jersey's goal for installed offshore wind energy capacity is 7,500 MW by 2035.

Week of Mar. 2

OMS Presentations Available for Download

Last week's AWEA Wind Project O&M and Safety Conference brought together industry professionals to identify and solve unique challenges in the health & safety, O&M, workforce training & development, and quality assurance sectors. Popular Offshore sessions included "Offshore Logistics and the impact on OPEX and your O&M Setup" and "Offshore Wind Safety: Navigating the Regulatory Regime." Presentations are available for download in the AWEA bookstore here.

Massachusetts Holds Offshore Transmission Technical Conference

Recently, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) convened a technical conference exploring the state's options for offshore transmission in relation to its planned offshore wind solicitations. State law requires solicitation of a further 1600 MW of offshore wind (in addition to the 1600 MW already procured), and DOER has the statutory ability to separately solicit proposals for offshore transmission. DOER staff indicated that there would be a second comment period, but did not provide details on potential timing for any upcoming solicitations.

More information can be found here.

Offshore pavilion at CLEANPOWER 2020

Offshore wind is still a young industry in the U.S., but that's rapidly changing. Interest has exploded in the three years since the Block Island Wind Farm became the first U.S. offshore wind project to come online. In addition to dedicated Offshore education content, CLEANPOWER 2020 will feature an Offshore Pavilion. This space on the show floor will be dedicated to those focused on and working in the Offshore sector. Book a booth here.


View past AWEA offshore wind updates

View past Offshore Wind Weekly issues


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.
  • CLEANPOWER 2020: The momentum for offshore wind continues leading into AWEA’s CLEANPOWER Conference & Exhibition, taking place June 1 – 4 in Denver. The event will include a pre-conference seminar about the offshore floating market opportunities on the horizon, as well as sessions that focus on key, strategic issues that impact the pan renewable community. Join us for CLEANPOWER 2020, where all the major developers, utilities, OEMs, suppliers and buyers converge under one roof.
  • Floating Offshore Wind Pre-Conference Seminar at CLEANPOWER 2020Attendees will learn about the latest technology, policy and regulatory developments that are facilitating the development of floating offshore wind projects.
  • 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.

Week of Feb. 24

Second Public hearings held on proposed revisions to NEPA rule

On February 25, the White House Council on Environmental Quality held its second hearing on the proposed revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act. in Washington D.C. at the Department of the Interior. More information is available link. Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted until March 10, 2020 at this link.

Maryland Offshore Wind Decision

On February 13, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) filed Notices of Intent to Conduct Evidentiary Hearings in the regulatory dockets for the Skipjack and US Wind offshore wind projects related to the change in turbine sizes. AWEA testified in Ocean City, Maryland on January 18, in a public hearing on the matter. The announcement of additional evidentiary proceedings is regrettable, although the PSC notices in each case indicate that "The evidentiary hearing is limited to potential impacts related to the change in turbine selection. The Commission will not reconsider issues unrelated to that topic, including the issue of whether to grant offshore wind renewable energy credits ('ORECs')."

AWEA testifies on Maryland RPS changes

AWEA's Andrew Gohn testified before the Maryland Senate Finance Committee in opposition to the Governor's Clean and Renewable Energy Standard (CARES) Act (House Bill 363 / Senate Bill 265) on February 11. The legislation would modify the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to be a "clean and renewable energy standard," providing support for natural gas with carbon capture and storage; biomass; nuclear; and other "net-zero" generators. The principal reason for AWEA and MAREC's opposition is the inclusion of all PJM hydro into Tier 1 of the state RPS without a commensurate increase in the Tier, which would threaten to significantly reduce the value of RECs to new renewable projects. For this reason, the bill is not likely to move out of Committee in either chamber.
 

Week of Feb. 17

Court affirms judgment rejecting challenge to BOEM lease for New York offshore wind energy

On February 14, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion, in Fisheries' Survival Fund v. Bernhardt, denying the motion of the plaintiffs (an alliance of scallop vessel operators, and other groups and fishing communities) to alter or amend the judgment of the court's September 2018 decision rejecting their challenge to the New York offshore wind energy lease. AWEA participated and filed briefs in the case explaining the importance of maintaining BOEM's current lease process for the wind industry. It remains to be seen whether the plaintiffs will seek reconsideration of/appeal the decision.

NOAA requests input on efficient permitting of ocean research, mapping, and characterizing activities

On February 10, BOEM released a proposed budget increase of more than $3M for its renewable energy program. Highlighting the "role that renewable energy can play in securing the Nation's energy independence and supporting economic growth," the proposed $26.5 million budget will support additional lease sales in the New York Bight and Pacific offshore California and at least one in the Carolinas in FY 2021, continued processing of six construction and operations plans and a potential 4-6 more over then next year and increased funding for stakeholder engagement, and a substantial investment in research to support the growing demand for renewable energy. On February 10th, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, on behalf of the Ocean Policy Committee, Ocean Resource Management Subcommittee, OSTP and CEQ, filed a notice of request for information from the public on the permitting process for ocean research, mapping, and characterization activities. The public input provided in response to this Request for Information (RFI) will inform the Ocean Policy Committee as it works with Federal agencies and other stakeholders to increase the efficiency of the permitting and authorization processes for ocean research, mapping, and characterization activities across agencies. to identify opportunities and inform development of recommendations that will increase the efficiency of the permitting and authorization processes for ocean research, mapping, and characterization activities that take place in the U.S. EEZ. This is particularly important related to challenges OSW developers have faced with conducting geotechnical and geophysical surveys for their projects in the BOEM permitting process. The RFI seeks responses to 5 particular questions, including "challenges related to identifying and obtaining the necessary information, permits and authorizations required to conduct research, mapping and characterization activities in the U.S. EEZ," opportunities to increase permitting efficiency, and any tools, platforms, and technologies could increase permitting, reporting and authorization processes." Comments are due on March 12, 2020.

AWEA staff presents at Environmental Business Council-New England Annual Meeting

Laura Morton, Senior Director, Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Offshore, spoke at EBC-NE's meeting on 2020 Vision – Procurements, Permits, Ports and Jobs Other panelists included Jason Folsom, National Sales Director, U.S., MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, and Raya Treiser, Partner, Wilmer Hale. There were more than 125 attendees at the meeting, which also included presentations from leaseholders, federal and state agencies, and the fishing community. Laura focused on the investments offshore wind leaseholders have made in the U.S. economy, including workforce development and training, port revitalization, and manufacturing facilities and the impact that delays in permitting and moving projects forward are having on the opportunities for the entire offshore wind supply chain, such as Gulf Coast vessel operators and manufacturers.
 

Week of Feb. 10

BOEM releases Vineyard Wind project schedule

Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM) announced a revised schedule for the Vineyard Wind project. The Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) will now be published June 12, 2020, the Final EIS November 13, 2020, and the Record of Decision on December 18, 2020, more than 15 months past its original decision date. AWEA's statement regarding the schedule can be found here. According to a BOEM spokeswoman, the draft SEIS will include a "broader cumulative scenario" and therefore BOEM will not have to wait on the completion of the Vineyard Wind environmental review to conduct review of other projects in its pipeline and minimize potential delay.

BOEM releases proposed FY21 budget increase for Renewable Energy

On February 10th. BOEM released a proposed budget increase of more than $3M for its renewable energy program. Highlighting the "role that renewable energy can play in securing the Nation's energy independence and supporting economic growth," the proposed $26.5 million budget will support additional lease sales in the New York Bight and Pacific offshore California and at least one in the Carolinas in FY 2021, continued processing of six construction and operations plans and a potential 4-6 more over then next year and increased funding for stakeholder engagement, and a substantial investment in research to support the growing demand for renewable energy.

California Energy Commission publishes background document and map of new potential areas for offshore wind, invites comment

On February 7, the California Energy Commission (CEC) published a background document and map of potential new areas for offshore wind development. The document and map follows multiple meetings over the last six months between the CEC, Department of Defense (DOD), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and two members of Congress. The meetings resulted from concerns raised by DOD related to the two call areas off the central California coast that were previously published by BOEM in October 2018 (DOD did not have the same level of concern about the north coast call area). Comments are due by May 15, 2020.

Registration Open for Massachusetts Offshore Wind Transmission Conference

On Tuesday, March 3, 2020 DOER and MassCEC are hosting a technical conference on Massachusetts Offshore Wind Transmission in Boston, MA. Registration for the conference opened on Eventbrite on February 5th, and space is limited with registration being offered on a "first come, first served basis. It is asked that you limit registration to one representative per organization. DOER and MassCEC are soliciting written comment prior to the technical conference. All interested stakeholders and members of the public are encouraged to provide written comments to Marian Swain by Tuesday February 28, 2020. The goal of the request for comment and the technical conference is to gather data on whether and/or how a solicitation for independent transmission should occur.

Public hearings on proposed NEPA rule set

The White House Council on Environmental Quality held its first hearing on the proposed revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act on February 11th. The next public hearing will be held in Washington, D.C. at the Department of the Interior on February 25th. Anyone wishing to attend the public hearing, either as a speaker or as a listener, must register in advance on Eventbrite. More information is available here. Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted until March 10, 2020.
 

Week of Feb. 3

Offshore Wind Public Participation Guide

On January 23, AWEA and the Special Initiative for Offshore Wind partnered to publish the new Offshore Wind Public Participation Guide to help the public engage in the existing federal feedback process for U.S. offshore wind development. The guide serves to highlight the public participation opportunities in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM's) regulatory process and details how public stakeholders and interested parties can share their opinions. Our press release announcing the guide's publication can be found here. You can use this link to access the guide online. Our goal is to circulate this guide to as many stakeholders as we can, so we ask that you promote awareness of the guide's availability to your networks.

AWEA Wind Standards Committee Meetings

AWEA is an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited standards development organization for consensus wind energy standards in the United States. Industry standards enhance the safety of industry operations, assure quality, help keep costs down, reduce waste, and minimize confusion. The AWEA Wind Technical Standards Committee (WTSC), AWEA Wind Workforce Standards Committee, and the Wind Environmental, Health, and Standards Committee will meet February 24 in Coronado, CA. In addition, two offshore standards subcommittees are meeting: the Offshore Standards Subcommittee of the WTSC is meeting on February 24 and the Offshore Safety Training Subcommittee of the WEHSSC is meeting on February 25. These meetings are before the AWEA Wind Project O&M and Safety Conference. View the full meeting schedule.

AWEA Wind Standards Call for Participation

The AWEA Wind Standards Committees and Subordinate Groups play an important role in helping develop standards for the wind energy industry. Standards play an important role in everyday life. Standards help speed acceptance, bring products to market quicker, and avoid having to reinvent the wheel every time a product is manufactured. Participation in committees and subordinate groups is open to all materially affected parties. Here are the following offshore groups:
  • Offshore Wind Subcommittee of the WTSC and the Offshore Wind Working Groups: Floating Offshore, Geotech and Geophysical Offshore, Metocean Offshore, OCRP 2012 Maintenance Offshore, Submarine Cables Offshore Working Group

  • Offshore Safety Subcommittee of the WEHSSC

  • Offshore Safety Training Subcommittee of the WEHSSC

View descriptions for all committees and subordinate groups. Contact standards@awea.org if you would like to participate.

Floating Offshore Wind Pre-Conference Seminar at CLEANPOWER

During this pre-conference seminar, attendees will learn about the latest technology, policy and regulatory developments that are facilitating the development of floating offshore wind projects. Learn more about education program at CLEANPOWER here.
 

Week of Jan. 27

New guide shows stakeholder engagement opportunities during offshore wind development

Public participation in the offshore wind development process is critical, especially during the process of identifying potential opportunities for future offshore wind development. Early feedback from interested parties helps inform offshore wind development. Without public participation from other ocean users including the fishing industry and coastal communities, developers may find themselves unaware of issues important to interested parties and unable to identify viable alternatives early on, and they could face opposition that could have been avoided... [read more].

US Coast Guard Notice of Availability of Draft MARIPARS Report

On January 29, 2020, the U.S. Coast Guard published a Notice of Availability of Draft Report and Request for Comments on the Port Access Route Study for the Areas Offshore of Massachusetts and Rhode Island (MARIPARS). The Notice of Availability states that is is opening a second MARIPARS comment period to facilitate transparent public discussions on both (1) the New England wind developers’ proposal and report submitted to the Coast Guard and BOEM, which supports a 1NW by 1NM uniform grid across seven contiguous lease areas; and (2) the letter proposal of the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) to the Coast Guard, BOEM and NMFS, which addresses the developers’ proposal letter, supporting the proposed 1 NM by 1 NM uniform grid but recommends six additional 4NM wide transit lane corridors through the lease areas.  Comments are due on March 16, 2020.

AWEA comments on US Coast Guard Request regarding initiation of anchorage regulation rulemaking

On January 28, 2020, AWEA filed comments on the U.S. Coast Guard's  Request for Comments on whether it should initiate a rulemaking to amend its existing anchorage regulations for "Anchorage Grounds; Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean, Delaware."
 

BOEM provides project updates, including timeline and scope for the SEIS Cumulative Impact Analysis, at New England Fishery Management Council Meeting

On January 28, 2020, BOEM presented an Atlantic Renewable Energy Program Update during the New England Fishery Management Council meeting.  In the presentation, BOEM provided an overview of each of the current offshore projects and outlines the scope for the Vineyard Wind SEIS Cumulative Impacts Analysis.
 

Offshore wind advocates solicit feedback after crushing blow to development (AWEA mention)

After outcry and opposition from commercial fishermen prompted the Trump administration to delay construction of dozens of wind turbines in the country's first large-scale offshore wind farm, the wind sector's main trade association and an advocacy group on Thursday took an unusual step to counter accusations that the industry has been less than transparent in seeking to transform U.S. coasts into watery clean energy hubs. The Special Initiative for Offshore Wind, a research and advocacy organization at the University of Delaware, and the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group, released what they're calling a "participation guide," a two-page primer on what can be a byzantine, years-long state and federal review processes for offshore wind projects. Like the 800-number on the back of a cereal box, the groups hope that the guide will solicit comments, concerns, and feedback from potential 

NREL publishes cost of floating offshore wind energy

This January, NREL published a report on the cost of floating offshore wind energy using New England Aqua Ventus Concreate Semisubmersible Technology. This report provides cost, technological, and resource data for floating offshore wind technology deployment at a hypothetical reference site representative of conditions in the Gulf of Maine. It is intended for stakeholders who want to understand more about the New England Aqua Ventus project costs as well as those who are interested in the general cost trends of the floating offshore wind industry. Click here to access the report.

NYSERDA Files Petition with PSC seeking authority to issue 1GW offshore wind solicitation

On January 28, 2020, NYSERDA filed a petition requesting that the Public Service Commission issue an order authorizing NYSERDA to issue a solicitation in 2020 for the procurement of at least 1,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind. NYSERDA's request is consistent with Governor Cuomo's directive to NYSERDA in his State of the State address to issue this second solicitation.  NYSERDA's petition includes a request for the solicitation to provide flexibility to "evaluate a range of bids that can maximize the competitive outcome, including bids for up to 2,500 MW, which would constitute an additional 1,800 MW beyond the 2,400 MW amount considered in the Commission’s prior Environmental Impact Statement."

New Jersey Offshore Transmission Bill

On January 21, Governor Phil Murphy signed S3985/A5663. The bill allows the NJ Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to conduct one or more competitive solicitations for open access offshore wind transmission lines designed to facilitate energy collection from multiple offshore wind projects and/or deliver that energy into the New Jersey grid. The bill allows the BPU to allocate OREC value to such proposals if they are selected in such a solicitation. The bill was amended from an earlier version that would have required, rather than merely authorized, the Board to conduct such solicitations.

AWEA Wind Standards Committee Meetings

AWEA is an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited standards development organization for consensus wind energy standards in the United States. Industry standards enhance the safety of industry operations, assure quality, help keep costs down, reduce waste, and minimize confusion. The AWEA Wind Technical Standards Committee (WTSC), AWEA Wind Workforce Standards Committee, and the Wind Environmental, Health, and Standards Committee will meet February 24 in Coronado, CA. In addition, two offshore standards subcommittees are meeting: the Offshore Standards Subcommittee of the WTSC is meeting on February 24 and the Offshore Safety Training Subcommittee of the WEHSSC is meeting on February 25. These meetings are before the AWEA Wind Project O&M and Safety Conference. View the full meeting schedule.

AWEA Wind Standards Call for Participation

The AWEA Wind Standards Committees and Subordinate Groups play an important role in helping develop standards for the wind energy industry. Standards play an important role in everyday life. Standards help speed acceptance, bring products to market quicker, and avoid having to reinvent the wheel every time a product is manufactured. Participation in committees and subordinate groups is open to all materially affected parties. Here are the following offshore groups:
  • Offshore Wind Subcommittee of the WTSC and the Offshore Wind Working Groups: Floating Offshore, Geotech and Geophysical Offshore, Metocean Offshore, OCRP 2012 Maintenance Offshore, Submarine Cables Offshore Working Group

  • Offshore Safety Subcommittee of the WEHSSC

  • Offshore Safety Training Subcommittee of the WEHSSC

View descriptions for all committees and subordinate groups. Contact standards@awea.org if you would like to participate.
 

Week of Jan. 20

New guide spotlights public input opportunities during US offshore wind development

As momentum to build large-scale U.S. offshore wind farms continues, a new guide released today will increase public transparency into the federal regulatory process governing offshore wind energy development. The new Offshore Wind Public Participation Guide, produced by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the University of Delaware's Special Initiative on Offshore Wind (SIOW), details the process and opportunities for public stakeholders and interested parties wishing to have their opinion heard.

AWEA seeks rehearing of PJM MOPR Order

On January 21, AWEA, along with SEIA, AEE, and ACORE, filed a detailed request for rehearing of FERC’s December order on the PJM MOPR. The filing identified numerous aspects of the order that are discriminatory towards wind, inconsistent with precedent, and exceed FERC's jurisdiction.

AWEA testifies on benefits of offshore wind in Maryland turbine size hearing

On Saturday, January 18, the Maryland Public Service Commission held a field hearing in Ocean City, MD regarding the proposed turbine changes in the Skipjack and MarWin projects offshore Maryland. AWEA had previously submitted testimony into the docket recommending approval of the change as the move to larger turbines did not materially affect the project visibility. The projects are both far enough from shore and the turbine change permits a reduction in the number of turbines, so visibility should not be impacted by the change. The hearing was remarkably well attended, with one estimate projecting 1,600 present. AWEA’s Andrew Gohn presented testimony highlighting the benefits of the projects, the close coordination with Ocean City in the designation of the Maryland Wind Energy Area, and the federal nature of the leases. AWEA will continue to advocate on this issue.
 

US Coast Guard (USCG) Request for Comments on amendment of anchorage regulations

On November 29, the Coast Guard issued a Request for Comments on whether it should initiate a rulemaking to amend its existing anchorage regulations for "Anchorage Grounds; Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean, Delaware." It is considering this action after receiving requests suggesting additional anchorage grounds are necessary to accommodate current and future vessel traffic, improve navigation safety, and because traditional anchorage areas may not be available due to planned or potential offshore wind energy development. The Coast Guard invites comments on whether it should initiate a rulemaking to amend its existing anchorage regulations based on this, or if the status quo should be maintained or other actions considered. In particular, the Coast Guard requests input to determine to what extent the notional anchorages, Anchorage B—Breakwater, Anchorage C—Cape Henlopen, and Anchorage D—Indian River would accommodate current and future vessel traffic, improve navigation safety, and facilitate continued growth of Delaware River ports, offshore renewable energy and associated economic activity; or if the status quo should be maintained, or other actions should be considered. Comments are due by January 28, 2020.
 

Mid-Atlantic Ocean Fishery Council Meeting

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold a meeting from February 11-13, 2020 in Duck, NC. On February 11th, there will be an update by Avangrid Renewables on the Kitty Hawk Wind Project. The January 2020 Offshore Wind updates from the Council regarding activities in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern New England are available here. You can sign up for the Council's offshore wind email list to receive these updates.
 

Week of Jan. 13

AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan featured on BBC Radio

On January 3, BBC Radio aired a special segment on the state of wind energy around the world as part of its World Business Report. Tom Kiernan provided a perspective on the current state of U.S. wind energy, the "all of the above" balance with other energy sources, the President’s political miscalculation with wind development in red states, and the opportunity for job growth. The segment was broadcast globally and is available to listen to on the BBC website. Contact Stacey Kerans with questions. 

Maryland to hold hearing on offshore turbine size

The Maryland Public Service Commission will hold a public comment hearing as part of its limited inquiry into impacts related to changes in the turbine sizes originally anticipated for use in the Skipjack and US Wind offshore projects on Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 12 Noon at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center (Rooms 215-217), 4001 Coastal Highway in Ocean City, Maryland. AWEA's Andrew Gohn will testify on behalf of AWEA. Members and offshore wind supporters are encouraged to participate.

Massachusetts DOER issues Request for Comment on Offshore Wind Transmission and Notice of  Technical Conference

On January 15, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) issued a request for comment on “Massachusetts Offshore Wind Transmission and Notice of Date for Technical Conference.”  The request is intended to gather data on whether and/or how a solicitation for independent transmission should occur and, if warranted, whether to issue a separate contingent solicitation for independent transmission prior to additional solicitations for up to 1600MW offshore wind as directed by DOER in its May 2019 Offshore Wind Study. A full-day technical conference co-hosted by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (Mass-CEC) and DOER on March 3 will include a discussion on the general costs and benefits of coordinated transmission, as well as the form of a potential independent transmission procurement under current legislative authority.   All interested stakeholders and members of the public are encouraged to provide written comments by February 8 prior to the technical conference. Questions for the stakeholders are included in the notice. Note that all comments will be made publicly available before the conference. More information about the request, conference, and comments can be found here.

New England Fishery Management Council Meeting

The New England Fisheries Management Council will hold a meeting on January 28-30 in Portsmouth, NH. On January 28, there will be two updates on offshore energy projects in the Northeast — one from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the other from the Habitat Committee. Additional details regarding the meeting can be found here and the agenda here. Slides also will be made available following the meeting.

Maine Fishermen's Forum Seminar

On March 5, the Maine Fishermen's Forum will host a one-day seminar on offshore wind energy development in the Gulf of Maine. The agenda will include discussion of: turbine construction, siting, and cabling; federal and state permitting and development requirements, including how fishing concerns are considered in the process; impacts on fisheries and research, and how fishermen and fisheries are working to represent fishermen's interests. Panelists include representatives of federal and state agencies involved in fisheries and wind energy development in the Gulf of Maine, plus several fishing industry members who will share real-life experiences and lessons learned from working with the government and wind energy developers in the mid-Atlantic.

Offshore Wind Focus at AWEA O&M and Safety Conference

The upcoming conference agenda includes sessions specific to offshore wind O&M and safety. Panelists include experts from BOEM, DOL-OSHA, GE Renewable Energy, Ørsted Wind Power North America & Vineyard Wind. More details will be announced in the coming weeks. Make plans to join us next month in San Deigo! Register here.
 

Week of Jan. 6

AWEA's statement on National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Review Process

The American Wind Energy Association issued the following statement on changes to the National Environmental Policy Act announced today by the White House. "The American Wind Energy Association supports improving the National Environmental Policy Act review process," said Amy Farrell, Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for AWEA.

The Maryland Public Service Commission to hold public comment hearing

The Maryland Public Service Commission will hold a public comment hearing as part of its limited inquiry into impacts related to changes in the turbine sizes originally anticipated for use in the Skipjack and US Wind offshore projects on Saturday, January 18, 2020, at 12 Noon at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center (Rooms 215-217), 4001 Coastal Highway in Ocean City, Maryland. AWEA's Andrew Gohn will testify on behalf of AWEA. AWEA members and offshore wind supporters are encouraged to participate.

 

Week of Jan. 6

AWEA's statement on National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Review Process

The American Wind Energy Association issued the following statement on changes to the National Environmental Policy Act announced today by the White House. "The American Wind Energy Association supports improving the National Environmental Policy Act review process," said Amy Farrell, Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for AWEA.

The Maryland Public Service Commission to hold public comment hearing

The Maryland Public Service Commission will hold a public comment hearing as part of its limited inquiry into impacts related to changes in the turbine sizes originally anticipated for use in the Skipjack and US Wind offshore projects on Saturday, January 18, 2020, at 12 Noon at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center (Rooms 215-217), 4001 Coastal Highway in Ocean City, Maryland. AWEA's Andrew Gohn will testify on behalf of AWEA. AWEA members and offshore wind supporters are encouraged to participate.
 

Week of Dec. 16

AWEA urges Department of Interior to advance offshore wind projects on one-year anniversary of record-breaking lease auctions

This weekend represents the one-year anniversary of a record-breaking auction for three lease areas off the coast of Massachusetts. Rights to develop the three lease areas sold for a combined $405 million, with winning bids coming from Mayflower Wind Energy, Equinor, and Vineyard Wind. "Last year’s auction results erased any doubts that harnessing the winds off America's shores offers a tremendous investment opportunity," said Laura Morton, AWEA's Senior Director for Policy & Regulatory Affairs, Offshore... [read more]

US Coast Guard (USCG) Update

On November 29, the Coast Guard issued a Request for Comments on whether it should initiate a rulemaking to amend its existing anchorage regulations for "Anchorage Grounds; Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean, Delaware." It is considering this action after receiving requests suggesting additional anchorage grounds are necessary to accommodate current and future vessel traffic, improve navigation safety, and because traditional anchorage areas may not be available due to planned or potential offshore wind energy development. The Coast Guard invites comments on whether it should initiate a rulemaking to amend its existing anchorage regulations based on this, or if the status quo should be maintained or other actions considered. Comments are due by January 28, 2020.

Final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes vessel navigation study related to offshore wind

The House and Senate recently completed negotiations over the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill text is available here. Section 3518 includes language similar to a provision Senator Markey (D-MA) offered during Senate Commerce Committee consideration of a bill reauthorizing the U.S. Maritime Administration. The provision requires a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the non-partisan investigative arm of Congress, on the availability of Jones Act compliant vessels for "emerging offshore energy infrastructure, including offshore wind energy." The report must be delivered within six months.

Final NDAA omits favorable House amendment language

The House version of the NDAA included an amendment offered by Representative Carbajal (D-CA) that would prohibit DoD from proposing offshore wind exclusion zones or objecting to an offshore wind project until 180 days after submitting a report to Congress regarding how DoD plans to evaluate proposed offshore wind farms and their compatibility with military training and operations, including the process to consider mitigation of potential impacts. The Carbajal language was not included in the recently negotiated final NDAA. However, similar language from Carbajal (though, more narrowly targeting offshore California) was included in the House Armed Services Committee Report that accompanied approval in the House.

Week of Dec. 9

Unified regulatory agenda indicates BOEM offshore wind regulatory reform rule coming soon

The Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) DOI/BOEM states that it intends to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to reform, streamline, and clarify its renewable energy regulation under the Administration's regulatory reform agenda. According to the Notice, the rulemaking "contains reforms that are intended to facilitate offshore renewable energy development without decreasing environmental safeguards." AWEA previously filed comments in November 2017 in response to a BOEM request for regulatory reform ideas and we plan to file comments on the NOPR when it is published.

US Coast Guard (USCG) announces plans to consider a fairways rulemaking next year

The USCG included in the Unified Regulatory Agenda the intention to issue an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR) in May 2020 seeking comments on the possible establishment of shipping safety fairways (Fairways). Fairways are marked vessel traffic routes in which any obstructions are prohibited. The proposed fairways are based on two studies on vessel traffic along the Atlantic Coast. According to the USCG, it is coordinating this action with BOEM to minimize impacts on potential offshore energy leases BOEM may grant in the future. AWEA has filed multiple comments with the USCG in vessel navigation dockets and plans to file ANOPR comments when it is published.

Connecticut announces offshore bid results

On December 5, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes announced a bid from developer Vineyard Wind has been selected to advance to contract negotiations with the state's electric distribution companies. Vineyard Wind's proposal would provide 804 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind through the development of the Park City Wind Project. The bid was selected through a competitive request for proposals (RFP) that DEEP conducted pursuant to Public Act 19-71, An Act Concerning the Procurement of Energy Derived from Offshore Wind. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed this bill into law June 7, 2019 after it received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Connecticut General Assembly.

Offshore wind still looks to get a foothold in California (AWEA Mention)

There may be a literal energy windfall off the coast of California but it is still unclear whether the federal government will give approval to specific sites and how long it will take before tall turbines are bobbing on the Pacific, sending electricity to customers across the Golden State. Wind energy's boosters are eager to see proposed projects get the go-ahead. "Let's get a couple of these rolling, get some floating offshore turbines out there and build this over time, which is exactly what you're seeing on the East Coast," said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.

Connecticut to reap economic and environmental benefits as Park City Wind Project moves forward (AWEA Mention)

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes this week announced that a bid from developer Vineyard Wind has been selected to advance to contract negotiations with the state's electric distribution companies to provide 804 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind through the development of the Park City Wind Project. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said today that the project sets a new standard for low-cost offshore wind that will pay off in multiple ways for the state.

AWEA statement on Elizabeth Warren's 'Blue New Deal'

"Policies like those proposed in Sen. Elizabeth Warren's 'Blue New Deal' will play an important role in growing offshore wind into the next major homegrown energy source. Offshore wind will create thousands of jobs and a new American supply chain and will revitalize coastal and port communities — all while supplying clean energy to many of the country's largest population centers," said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.

Week of Dec. 2

AWEA's Laura Morton on Bloomberg Market Minute

The Bloomberg Market Minute segment ran November 30 on 200+ local radio stations around the U.S. with a quick overview of wind energy industry growth opportunities and a soundbite from AWEA's Laura Morton, Senior Director of Policy & Regulatory Affairs for Offshore. 
 

Week of Nov. 18

AWEA applauds GREEN Act released by Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA)

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) issued the a statement applauding the release of the Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act by Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA), Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means. The legislation includes an extension of the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) at 60 percent for five years and extends the offshore wind Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for five years. The wind energy tax credit is expiring this year, while other energy sources have permanent tax credits.

New Jersey ups the ante on offshore wind 

Over the past few years, states up and down the East Coast have jockeyed for position as America's offshore wind leader. Massachusetts and Rhode Island were early movers, Maryland and New York have made waves, and Connecticut and Virginia made a big push earlier this fall. Now New Jersey is making its move — Gov. Phil Murphy just announced the state is more doubling its offshore wind commitment to 7,500 megawatts by 2035...[read more]

Week of Nov. 11

'Uber drivers' for offshore wind

Offshore wind has the potential to create tens of thousands of new American jobs and an entirely new U.S. supply chain. In fact, 74 different occupations are needed to build an offshore wind farm, according to the Workforce Development Institute. Some of these jobs might surprise you, like this "Uber driver" for the Block Island Wind Farm. View video.

Offshore wind: The next American energy source

Across the Atlantic, Pacific and Great Lakes coasts, offshore wind power is arriving. That means tens of thousands of new jobs, a new American supply chain and abundant clean energy. U.S. offshore wind power is ready to get to work. View video.

Week of Nov. 4

Bipartisan House Offshore Wind ITC bill introduced

On Wednesday, October 30th, Rep. Pascrell (D-NJ) and Rep. King (D-NY) introduced H.R. 4887, the "Offshore Wind Power Act of 2019." This legislation is the House companion bill to Sens. Carper (D-DE) and Collins (R-ME) bill, S.1988 that extends the offshore ITC through calendar year 2027 or until the industry reaches 3,000 MW, whichever happens later. Rep. Pascrell is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and has prioritized an offshore wind ITC in part of any House energy tax extenders legislation. The press release, including a supportive quote from AWEA's CEO, Tom Kiernan, can be found here.

MA selects Mayflower Wind project

On October 30, Massachusetts announced it selected the 804 MW Mayflower Wind project as the winner of the state's second offshore wind solicitation. The project is being developed by Mayflower Wind Energy, a joint venture of Shell New Energies and EDP Renewables. The developers will now negotiate a final contract with the state's distribution utilities, Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil, which is expected to be executed by December 13. The price of the project came in lower than the original price cap of $84 per MWh, and the developers estimate that the project will reduce electricity rates by $3.7 billion over the term of the contract. Mayflower Wind is scheduled for operations in 2025. Learn more.


Additional Resources

  • 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.
  • O&M and Safety Conference 2020: In the US, there are now over 56, 000 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 100 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy in the ground and 22 GW expected offshore by 2030. This impressive growth, coupled with leaps in technology, has renewable energy companies looking at their operating assets for profits. But what does operations look like in the 2020s? A successful wind project requires more than top-notch technology; its most important asset are the people who maintain the projects.
  • CLEANPOWER 2020: The momentum for offshore wind continues leading into AWEA’s CLEANPOWER Conference & Exhibition, taking place June 1 – 4 in Denver. The event will include a pre-conference seminar about the offshore floating market opportunities on the horizon, as well as sessions that focus on key, strategic issues that impact the pan renewable community. Join us for CLEANPOWER 2020, where all the major developers, utilities, OEMs, suppliers and buyers converge under one roof.
  • Floating Offshore Wind Pre-Conference Seminar at CLEANPOWER 2020Attendees will learn about the latest technology, policy and regulatory developments that are facilitating the development of floating offshore wind projects.
  • 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.

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