On July 31, 2023, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced three final wind energy areas (WEAs) off the shores of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The final WEAs have the potential to support 4-8 gigawatts of energy, contributing to the Biden administration’s goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.
The WEAs were finalized through a comprehensive planning process, involving extensive engagement with states, tribes, local residents and government agencies such as the Department of Defense and NASA. In partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, BOEM developed an ecosystem-based ocean planning model to assist in selecting the final WEAs.
The new WEAs total approximately 356,550 acres:
- WEA A-2 (101,767 acres) — 26 nautical miles (nm) from the Delaware Bay
- WEA B-1 (78,285 acres) — 23.5 nm off the shore of Ocean City, Maryland
- WEA C-1 (176,506 acres) — 35 nm from the Chesapeake Bay, off the shore of Virginia
Today, BOEM published to the Federal Register a notice of intent to prepare an environmental assessment of the potential impacts of offshore wind development on the sites. The agency is accepting public comments until Aug. 31, 2023. These may be submitted by mail or through the regulations.gov web portal. Another public comment period will occur if BOEM moves forward with a proposed lease sale.
McGuireWoods regularly assists clients with all aspects of renewable energy projects, including offshore wind construction and procurement contracts, project finance, corporate formation and structuring, energy asset purchases and sales, negotiation of power marketing agreements, energy regulation before FERC and state regulators, transmission projects, and licensing and permitting matters. For further information on this alert or related renewable energy matters, please do not hesitate to contact the authors.