The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is advancing the federal wind leasing process offshore in California. BOEM is publishing a Call for Information and Nominations to request information from the public and determine industry interest in commercial offshore wind energy development for two new areas within a 399-square-mile area located off central California, identified as the Morro Bay Call Area East and West Extensions.
BOEM is also formally designating the Humboldt Wind Energy Area (WEA) offshore northern California and will now proceed with an environmental review of this area, as required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
“Today’s announcement builds on an earlier agreement between the White House, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Defense and the state of California to advance areas for offshore wind off the northern and central coasts of California,” says Amanda Lefton, BOEM’s director. “If approved for offshore wind energy development, these areas could bring us closer to reaching this administration’s goal of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030.”
On May 25, 2021, the Departments of the Interior and Defense and the state of California announced their agreement to advance areas for wind energy development offshore the northern and central coasts of California, enabling a path forward for the Humboldt Call Area and areas within and adjacent to the Morro Bay Call Area.
BOEM is publishing the Commercial Leasing for Wind Power Development on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Morro Bay, California, East and West Extensions – Call for Information and Nominations in the Federal Register on July 29, 2021, which will initiate a 45-day public comment period. BOEM will accept nominations and comments until September 13, 2021.
BOEM is also designating nearly 132,369 acres (206.8 square miles) as a WEA offshore Humboldt County in northern California. BOEM will conduct an environmental assessment (EA) of the WEA, per NEPA. The EA will consider potential environmental consequences of site characterization activities (e.g., survey activities and core samples) and site assessment activities (e.g., installation of meteorological buoys) associated with issuing wind energy leases in the WEA. The EA will also consider project easements associated with each potential lease issued, and grants for subsea cable corridors through state tidelands.
As part of BOEM’s scoping process, BOEM is seeking public comments on what should be considered as part of the EA. BOEM also will use these comments as input for its consultation under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Additional information on how to comment can be found at https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/humboldt-wind-energy-area.
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