Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia Offshore Wind project will be among the first in the nation to use a new federal permitting process designed to accelerate offshore wind development in the United States. This comes as the Bureau of Offshore Energy Management (BOEM) and the North Atlantic Division of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced a new agreement that will give the agencies additional scientific and technical resources to evaluate offshore wind projects. The initiative, which was developed in partnership with Old Dominion University and facilitated by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, will be critical to ensuring new offshore wind leases are approved in a timely manner.
“Innovative partnerships like this signal to the world that Virginia and the Southeast are prepared to lead the clean energy economy,” said Governor Northam. “With offshore wind, we have a unique opportunity to address the climate crisis while creating new jobs and driving economic growth. I am thrilled that the Commonwealth could help provide a solution to improve the federal permitting process for offshore wind development and ensure this industry is able to truly take off.”
While the agreement covers all renewable energy activities along the Atlantic Coast, the initial focus will be on the review of the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project and the Kitty Hawk Offshore Wind project in North Carolina. This partnership is critical to the success of the offshore wind industry in the United States, allowing USACE to immediately provide technical support to BOEM to facilitate federal reviews and assist in decision making on the growing number of offshore wind projects. This additional capacity will allow BOEM to focus on a broader range of challenges, including the development of additional offshore wind leases that will offer additional market opportunity and help secure the supply chain needed to reach renewable energy targets.
“This agreement shows the value of a whole-of-government approach to clean energy development,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “BOEM has a long history of successful collaboration with the DOD and USACE on energy and marine mineral projects. Additionally, our state partnerships are vital to the advancement of BOEM’s renewable energy program.”
News item from Virginia
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