The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently announced the identification of nearly 800,000 acres as Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) in the New York Bight, between Long Island and the New Jersey coast. The agency will now initiate an environmental review, with public input, of these areas in federal waters for potential offshore wind leasing.
The identification of WEAs is part of the four phases of BOEM’s Renewable Energy Planning process. Prior to the identification of WEAs, BOEM identified broad “Call Areas” to obtain nominations from companies interested in commercial wind energy leases. After a public input process, BOEM then defined draft WEAs within the Call Areas, which were added to the Portal to support public meetings in 2018. The final New York Bight WEAs announced in March 2021 can now be viewed in the Energy and Infrastructure Theme Map and in the Data Explorer, where it is listed under Energy and Infrastructure – Planning Areas.
BOEM will now prepare an environmental assessment (EA) to consider potential environmental consequences of site characterization activities (i.e., biological, archeological, geological, and geophysical surveys and core samples) and site assessment activities (i.e., installation of meteorological buoys) associated with issuing wind energy leases in the WEAs. The EA also considers project easements associated with each potential lease issued, and grants for subsea cable corridors in the New York Bight.
As part of this process, BOEM is seeking comments on considerations to be included in the EA. BOEM will use these comments in its scoping process and as input for its consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and its implementing regulations. For more information on how to comment, please see: https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/new-york-bight.
Virtual New York Bight Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force Meeting
BOEM is holding a Virtual New York Bight Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force meeting on April 14 and 16, 2021. The purpose of this meeting is to update stakeholders on BOEM’s renewable energy planning activities and gain input on a draft Proposed Sale Notice for the New York Bight. Members of the public are invited to attend. There will be an opportunity for public input. Additional details, including an agenda, will become available on BOEM’s website at https://www.boem.gov/NY-Bight/. Use this link to register for the meeting.