US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has published a guide to help the public understand BOEM’s process for overseeing renewable energy projects on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) and to highlight opportunities for public involvement.
BOEM is the US federal agency responsible for issuing leases, easements, and rights-of-way for renewable energy projects on the OCS.
The OCS refers to the 1.7 billion acres of Federal submerged lands, subsoil, and seabed beginning three nautical miles off the coastline, for most US states, and extending to the edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The United States is experiencing increased interest in the development of marine energy projects using wind, wave, and ocean current technologies.
These types of renewable energy sources can provide densely populated coastal communities with a clean source of electrical power while helping to diversify the US electrical supply,
In 2016, the US Department of Energy (DOE) estimated 10,800 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy could be accessed within the 200 nm EEZ boundary.
DOE estimates offshore wind energy capacity recoverable given current technical capabilities to be 2,058 GW, with an energy generation potential almost double the electricity consumption of the United States, according to BOEM.