The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) yesterday announced eight draft wind energy areas (WEAs) offshore the US central Atlantic coast for public review and comment.
The draft WEAs cover approximately 1.7m acres offshore North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, with their closest points ranging from approximately 19 to 77 nautical miles off the country’s central Atlantic coast. The potential offshore locations are deemed most suitable for renewable energy development, taking into consideration possible impacts to local resources and ocean users.
The eight draft WEAs represent a subset of the original 3.9m acres of the call area that the Department of the Interior announced for public comment in April 2022.
The WEAs may be further modified after incorporating feedback from government partners, ocean users and stakeholders. BOEM is seeking comment on potential conflicts with the draft areas, including with a potential US Coast Guard (USCG) fairway for transiting vessels, commercial fishing, a NASA danger zone and marine habitat areas.
A 30-day public comment period started on November 16. During this period, BOEM will hold virtual meetings to engage the fishing community and environmental organisations to gather more information on the WEAs and discuss next steps. These meetings will be open to the public.