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Department of the Interior Announces Environmental Review of First Proposed Wind Power Project Offshore Maryland

When: Monday, June 6, 2022
Contact: [email protected]

WASHINGTON – Continuing the momentum of meeting the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power capacity by 2030, the Department of the Interior today announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will conduct an environmental review of the first offshore wind energy project in Maryland.

This week, the department will issue a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Construction and Operation Plan (COP) submitted by US Wind, LLC (US Wind). This is the 10th review of the offshore wind power COP initiated under the Biden-Harris administration.

“President Biden has set the bar high for a clean energy future with ambitious offshore wind goals that will reduce costs for families, create nearly 80,000 well-paying jobs and make substantial progress as we work to address the climate crisis,” said Home Secretary Deb Haaland. “The Department of the Interior continues to respond at this time as part of this administration’s whole-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis, which includes early and ongoing engagement with neighboring communities.”

The concession area is approximately 10 nautical miles off Ocean City, Maryland and approximately nine nautical miles off Sussex County, Delaware. If approved, the development and construction phases of the US Wind project could support up to approximately 2,679 jobs per year over seven years.

“If approved, this project will represent another step toward creating a robust offshore wind industry here in the United States, while creating well-paying jobs and supporting family,” said Amanda Lefton, Director of BOEM. “We are committed to using the best available scientific and traditional knowledge to inform our decisions and protect the ocean environment and marine life. We look forward to receiving feedback from our government partners, ocean users and other stakeholders, which is critical to the success of the environmental review process.

President Biden catalyzed the offshore wind energy industry by announcing the first-ever Offshore wind target, creating a clear vision for the future of this innovative industry. This goal is reinforced by President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which will make historic investments to build a better America with clean energy, resilient infrastructure, and strong domestic manufacturing and supply chains.

Additionally, last fall, the administration announced a new term lease pathway, which identified up to seven potential lease sales by 2025. A recent report indicates that the growing offshore wind industry in the United States presents a $109 billion revenue opportunity for supply chain companies over the next decade.

Publication of the Notice of Intent opens a 30-day public comment period until July 8, 2022 as part of the process to help BOEM determine the scope of its environmental review.

Highlights of US Wind’s proposal include the following:

  • Construction and operation of an offshore wind project with a total capacity of between 1,100 and 2,000 megawatts of clean, renewable wind energy on the Delmarva Peninsula, which could power up to 650,000 homes in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia each year.
  • Installation of up to 121 turbines, up to four offshore substation platforms, a meteorological tower and up to four offshore export cable corridors, which are expected to make landfall at 3 R’s Beach or Tower Road in the Delaware Seashore State Park in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

The NOI’s public comment period will help identify what BOEM should consider as part of its environmental review of US Wind’s COP. Throughout the scoping process, multiple opportunities exist to help BOEM identify significant resources and issues, impacting factors, reasonable alternatives and potential mitigation measures that need to be analyzed in the EIA.

During the public comment period, BOEM will hold three virtual public scoping meetings to inform the preparation of the EIA on the following dates and times:

  • Tuesday, June 21 at 5 p.m. ET
  • Thursday, June 23 at 5 p.m. ET
  • Monday, June 27 at 1 p.m. ET

Registration for the virtual public meetings and detailed information about the proposed wind facility, including how to comment, can be found at BOEM’s website.

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