Feds Eye More Wind Energy Leases

The Block Island wind turbines were visible at dawn on Monday from the ocean beach in Montauk. Jane Bimson

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is calling for information and nominations from companies interested in commercial wind energy leases within a proposed area in the New York Bight, an area of shallow waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast. 

A statement issued on Friday said that in addition to nominations, the agency seeks public opinion on the potential for wind energy development in the area, including site conditions, resources, and multiple uses in close proximity to, or within, the areas that would be relevant for the review of any nominations as well as the bureau’s subsequent decision on whether to offer all or part of the areas for wind leasing. 

Walter Cruickshank, the bureau’s acting director, said in the statement that “We understand that development on the outer continental shelf requires us to consider how these developments can affect people who make their living on the ocean. B.O.E.M. will continue to work closely with our stakeholders, including state government agencies and ocean users, to look at the potential impacts of offshore wind from a regional and cumulative perspective. For example, commercial and recreational fishing are important cultural and economic activities that must be considered.”

In a responding statement, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said, “New York has made an unparalleled commitment to expanding offshore wind and leading in the clean energy economy, and I commend the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for supporting our efforts to develop a cleaner, more prosperous future.” 

“In New York, we are proud to have a nation-leading mandate to generate 50 percent of the state’s electricity needs from renewable energy sources,” the governor said, referring to the state’s Clean Energy Standard. “To advance our clean energy goals, we are undertaking one of the largest offshore wind development plans in the country, which will power 1.2 million New York homes and create 5,000 good-paying jobs.” 

He also expressed continuing concern about the federal government’s proposal to allow offshore oil and gas drilling on the East Coast. “New York has formally requested to be excluded from this offshore drilling plan, and we believe offshore wind is a better direction for our economy, for our environment, and for our energy future,” he said. 

The call was to be published in the Federal Register yesterday; a 45-day public comment period is to follow.