BOEM to Start Environmental Review of 2+ GW Empire Wind

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will be conducting an environmental review of the Empire Wind project offshore New York and New Jersey.

On 18 June, BOEM will publish a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) submitted by Empire Wind, LLC, a 50-50 joint venture between Equinor and bp.

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”As coastal states look to offshore wind to help fulfill their clean energy goals to combat climate change and create good-paying jobs, BOEM is working diligently to evaluate environmental and multiple use considerations while engaging with our government partners, industry, other ocean users and key stakeholders,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton.

”President Biden has directed a government-wide approach to the climate crisis, and BOEM is an important part of that effort.”

If approved, Empire Wind would be allowed to construct and operate two wind energy facilities consisting of up to 174 turbines offshore New York and New Jersey, thereby generating over 2,000 MW of electricity.

During development and construction, Empire Wind would generate an average of 880 jobs from 2019-2027, with a peak of almost 2,400 jobs in approximately 2025. During operations and maintenance, Empire Wind would support about 300 long-term jobs, BOEM said.

BOEM’s scoping process is intended to identify what should be considered in the EIS for each project. Throughout the scoping process, there will be multiple opportunities to help BOEM determine the important resources and issues, potential impacts to the environment, reasonable alternatives and potential mitigating measures to be analyzed in the EIS.

The publication of the NOI opens a 30-day public comment period to help BOEM define the scope of the EIS. During this time, BOEM will hold virtual public scoping meetings. Public input obtained during the comment period will be used to inform the preparation of the EIS.

The public comment period for the proposed project extends through 11:59 pm Eastern time on July 19, 2021.

In addition to calling for up to 174 wind turbine generators, the Empire Wind COP calls for two offshore substations, two offshore electric cable routes, up to three export cable landfall sites, up to three onshore electric cable routes, and two onshore substations, providing connection to the existing electrical grid in New York.

If built, the two facilities would contribute to New York’s goal of securing 9 GW of offshore wind energy generation by 2035, and the country’s goal of having 30 GW of operating offshore wind capacity by 2030.

The Empire Wind projects would be located in federal waters approximately 12 nautical miles south of Long Island, New York, and 17 nautical miles east of Long Branch, New Jersey.

Photo: Equinor/Illustration