Research Lease for Renewable Energy on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Offshore Virginia, Request for Competitive Interest (RFCI)
The purpose of this public notice is to: (1) Describe the proposal submitted to BOEM by the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Mines Minerals and Energy (DMME) to acquire an OCS lease for wind energy research activities; (2) solicit public input regarding the proposal, its potential environmental consequences, and the use of the area in which the proposed project would be located; and (3) solicit indications of competitive interest for a research lease in the area identified by DMME for activities that would support future, potential commercial wind development. On June 1, 2012, BOEM received an unsolicited request for a research lease from DMME. The objective of DMME is to obtain a lease under 30 CFR 585.238 for renewable energy research activities, including the siting of two meteorological and ocean monitoring platforms for pre-and post-construction collection of resource data, including wind velocities, water levels, waves, and bird and bat activities, to support the future production of renewable energy within and around the Wind Energy Area (WEA) offshore Virginia, identified by BOEM. This RFCI is published pursuant to subsection 8(p)(3) of the OCS Lands Act, as amended by section 388 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) (43 U.S.C. 1337(p)(3)), and the implementing regulations at 30 CFR Part 585.
Notice of Determination of No Competitive Interest, Offshore Maine
This notice provides BOEM's determination that there is no competitive interest in the area requested by Statoil North America (Statoil NA) for a commercial wind lease as described in the Notice of Potential Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Offshore Maine, Request for Interest (RFI), that BOEM published on August 10, 2012, (77 FR 47877). The RFI described Statoil NA's application for a commercial lease for a four-turbine wind energy project on the OCS off the coast of Maine, and provided an opportunity for the public to submit comments about the proposal.
Interim Policy Leasing for Renewable Energy Data Collection Facility on the Outer Continental Shelf off the Coast of Georgia
This Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) is being published as an initial step for the purpose of involving Federal agencies, states, tribes, local governments, and the public in the preparation of an EA. The EA will consider the environmental consequences associated with issuing a lease for an offshore data collection facility located on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), in accordance with applicable Department of the Interior (DOI) and Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations implementing the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). On November 6, 2007, the Minerals Management Service, now BOEM, announced an interim policy for authorizing the issuance of leases for the installation of offshore data collection and technology testing facilities on the OCS (72 FR 62673). An applicant has submitted a lease proposal to BOEM pursuant to the interim policy and, thus, has initiated the need for an EA. On April 7, 2011, Southern Company submitted an application to lease three OCS blocks, approximately 311 nautical miles off the coast of Tybee Island, Georgia, under its original nomination submitted on July 23, 2008. The areas proposed for leasing are identified as Brunswick NH 17-02 OCS blocks numbered 6074, 6174, and 6126. The proposed lease area covers about 70 square kilometers (17,280 acres) of seafloor, and ranges from a depth of 12 meters (m) in Block 6074 to 20 m in the eastern half of Block 6126. Southern Company submitted amended project applications on May 18, 2012, and October 25, 2012, which describe additional data collection and technology testing activities to be conducted on the proposed lease. Southern Company intends to deploy a meteorological tower and/or a meteorological buoy that will measure wind speed, direction and shear, and potentially collect other environmental data during the five year lease term. BOEM intends to prepare an EA for the purpose of considering the environmental consequences associated with issuing an interim policy lease to Southern Company; this EA will consider impacts associated with the deployment and installation of a meteorological tower and/or the deployment of a meteorological buoy. At a minimum, the EA will consider the alternatives of no action (i.e., no issuance of a lease) and the issuance of a lease and approval of certain technology testing activities within the lease area, such as installation of a fixed meteorological tower and/or deployment of a meteorological buoy. With this NOI, BOEM requests comments and input from Federal, state, and local government agencies, tribal governments, and other interested parties on important environmental issues and alternatives that may be appropriate for consideration in the EA. BOEM also requests information pertaining to measures (e.g., limitations on activities based on technology, siting, or timing) that would minimize the reasonably foreseeable impacts to environmental resources and socioeconomic conditions which could result from the proposed activity. BOEM will conduct consultations with other Federal agencies, tribal governments, and affected states during the EA process.
Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore North Carolina-Call for Information and Nominations (Call)
BOEM invites the submission of nominations for commercial wind leases that would allow a lessee to propose the construction of a wind energy project on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore North Carolina, and to develop the project if approved after further environmental review. Although this announcement is not itself a leasing announcement, the Call Areas described herein, or portions thereof, may be available for future leasing. BOEM will use responses to this Call to gauge specific interest in acquiring commercial wind leases in some or all of the Call Areas, as required by 43 U.S.C. 1337(p)(3). Parties wishing to submit a nomination in response to this Call should submit detailed and specific information in response to the requirements described in the section entitled, ``Required Nomination Information.'' This announcement also requests comments and information from interested and affected parties about site conditions, resources, and multiple uses in close proximity to, or within, the Call Areas that would be relevant to BOEM's review of any nominations submitted and/or to BOEM's subsequent decision to offer all or part of the Call Areas for commercial wind leasing. The information that BOEM is requesting is described in the section of this Call entitled, ``Requested Information from Interested or Affected Parties.'' This Call is published pursuant to subsection 8(p)(3) of the OCS Lands Act, 43 U.S.C. 1337(p)(3), which was added by section 388 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), as well as the implementing regulations at 30 CFR part 585. The Call Areas described in this notice are located on the OCS offshore North Carolina and are delineated as Wilmington-West, Wilmington-East and Kitty Hawk (formerly referred to as North Carolina Planning Areas 1, 2, and 5, respectively, during BOEM's North Carolina offshore wind planning efforts). The three Call Areas include 195 whole OCS blocks and 60 partial blocks in total and comprise approximately 1,441 square nautical miles (494,016 hectares). These Call Areas were established in consultation with the BOEM North Carolina Renewable Energy Intergovernmental Task Force (Task Force). A detailed description of the areas and how they were developed is described in the section of this Call entitled, ``Description of the Area.''
Commercial Wind Leasing and Site Assessment Activities on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Offshore North Carolina
BOEM is publishing this Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the purpose of involving Federal agencies, states, tribes, local governments, offshore wind energy developers, and the public in the Department of the Interior's (DOI) ``Smart from the Start'' wind energy initiative offshore North Carolina. The ``Smart from the Start'' wind energy initiative is designed to identify areas that appear to be suitable for wind energy leasing on the OCS, known as Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) and to obtain public and expert input that will inform DOI's decisionmaking with regard to issuing leases and approving site assessment activities in these areas, in accordance with applicable DOI regulations and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations implementing the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). The ``Smart from the Start'' initiative involves coordinated environmental studies, large-scale planning processes, and expedited review procedures within these areas to achieve an efficient and responsible renewable energy leasing process. More information on the ``Smart from the Start'' initiative can be found at: https://boem.gov/ Renewable-Energy-Program/Smart-from-the-Start/Index.aspx. In consultation with other Federal agencies and the BOEM North Carolina Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, BOEM has identified three areas under consideration for potential future wind energy leasing offshore North Carolina (Call Areas). These Call Areas are identified in the document entitled, Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore North Carolina-Call for Information and Nominations (Call), which is being published concurrently with this Notice. The publication of a Call is the first public step in BOEM's offshore wind planning process for North Carolina, and additional opportunities for public involvement are required before any commercial wind leases would be issued. A commercial lease gives the lessee the exclusive right to subsequently seek BOEM approval for the development of the leasehold. The lease does not grant the lessee the right to construct any facilities; rather, the lease grants the lessee the right to use the leased area to develop its plans, which BOEM must approve before the lessee can move on to the next stage of the process. See 30 CFR 585.600 and 585.601. BOEM intends to prepare an EA, which is the subject of this Notice, that will consider the environmental consequences associated with the possible future issuance of commercial wind leases and approving site assessment activities on those leases (within all or some of these Call Areas). BOEM is seeking public input regarding the identification of the alternatives to be considered in the EA, as well as the environmental and/or socioeconomic issues to be analyzed. Furthermore, section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470f) and its implementing regulations at 36 CFR 800 require Federal agencies to consider the effects of their actions on historic properties, and afford the Advisory Council on Historic Properties an opportunity to comment (36 CFR 800.1). Therefore, BOEM will conduct Section 106 review for the issuance of leases and approval of site assessment activities within some or all of the Call Areas, in coordination with its environmental review. As part of this Section 106 review, BOEM will initiate consultation with state historic preservation officer, tribal officials, and others. With the publication of this Notice, BOEM is reaching out to the general public for comments regarding the identification of historic properties or potential effects to historic properties from leasing and site assessment activities in the Call Areas. Submitted information will allow BOEM to consider the views of the public and document historic preservation concerns early in the Section 106 process.
Environmental Documents Prepared for Oil, Gas, and Mineral Operations by the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Region
BOEM, in accordance with Federal regulations that implement the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), announces the availability of NEPA-related Site-Specific Environmental Assessments (SEAs) and Findings of No Significant Impact (FONSIs). These documents were prepared during the period July 1, 2012, through September 30, 2012, for oil, gas, and mineral-related activities that were proposed in the Gulf of Mexico, and are more specifically described in the Supplementary Information section of this notice.
Atlantic Wind One (ATLW1) Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Virginia-Proposed Sale Notice
This document is the Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) for the sale of a commercial renewable energy lease on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore Virginia, pursuant to BOEM's regulations at 30 CFR 585.216. BOEM will auction the area described in the Call for Information and Nominations (77 FR 5545) as a single lease using an ascending clock auction. In this PSN, you will find information pertaining to the area available for leasing, proposed lease provisions and conditions, auction details, the lease form, criteria for evaluating competing bids, award procedures, appeal procedures, and lease execution. BOEM invites comments during a 60-day comment period following this notice.
Atlantic Wind Lease Sale 2 (ATLW2) Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts-Proposed Sale Notice
This document is the Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) for the sale of commercial wind energy leases on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts, pursuant to BOEM's regulations at 30 CFR 585.216. BOEM proposes to offer for sale, using a multi- factor auction format, two leases that together encompass the Rhode Island and Massachusetts Wind Energy Area (WEA) that was identified on February 24, 2012 (see ``Areas Offered for Leasing'' below for a description of the WEA and lease areas). In this PSN, you will find information pertaining to the areas available for leasing, proposed lease provisions and conditions, auction details, the lease form, criteria for evaluating competing bids, award procedures, appeal procedures, and lease execution. BOEM invites comments during a 60-day comment period following this notice. The issuance of the proposed leases resulting from this announcement would not constitute an approval of project-specific plans to develop offshore wind energy. Such plans, expected to be submitted by successful lessees, will be subject to subsequent environmental and public review prior to a decision to proceed with development.