BOEM Preps Offshore Wind Design Envelope Approach

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has issued draft guidelines for the use of a design envelope approach in Construction and Operation Plans (COPs) for offshore wind projects in the United States.

The approach would allow BOEM to analyze the environmental impacts of the proposed project in a manner that could reduce or eliminate the need for subsequent environmental and technical reviews without sacrificing appropriate environmental safeguards.

The design, launched in support of the Administration’s “America First Energy Plan”, is an initiative of offshore wind developers who want to take advantage of technological developments within the industry.

According to BOEM, the design envelope would give developers a degree of flexibility and allow them to make certain project-design decisions, such as which turbines to use, at the more commercially advantageous time later in the project development process.

Although this practice is standard in some European countries for permitting offshore wind projects, the use of a design envelope is not mandatory, but is seen as an optional tool for prospective developers.

“The Outer Continental Shelf’s offshore wind potential is a tremendous asset and part of the Administration’s America First Energy Plan to make it easier for industry to do business here, said Secretary Ryan Zinke.

“And, now more than ever, we must use every tool at our disposal to ensure an energy-secure future – one that promotes jobs and is affordable, competitive and safe. Offshore wind will play a big role in this future.”