AWEA Adds Regulatory Attorney to Offshore Wind Team

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has appointed a veteran regulatory attorney to lead policy and regulatory efforts for the offshore wind sector in the U.S.

As Senior Director of Offshore Wind Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Laura Smith Morton will lead AWEA efforts in coordination with member companies to resolve permitting and regulatory challenges impacting offshore wind projects in development and facilities in operation.

Key issues in the portfolio include offshore wind leasing and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) regulatory process, multiple-use compatibility with other ocean users and environmental impacts, among others.

“It’s immensely gratifying to be back working on offshore wind issues. As this new American energy industry scales up, we must strike the right balance with policies that encourage development, job creation, and the revitalization of coastal infrastructure while also engaging with other ocean users to ensure all can prosper,” said Morton.

According to AWEA, Morton has over 10 years of experience in offshore wind policy and regulatory issues, both as an attorney and through senior roles at the Department of Energy (DOE), Council on Environmental Quality, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Morton contributed to the original National Offshore Wind Strategy, which charted a course to build the U.S. offshore wind industry, AWEA said. Most recently, Morton served as a consultant to companies and non-profit organizations on renewable energy, environment, and water resources issues.

The U.S. is currently home to only one operational offshore wind farm, the 30MW Block Island. The construction of the second offshore wind project began at the beginning of July in Virginia.

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