BOEM Completes Northern California Offshore Wind Leasing Environmental Review

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed its environmental review of potential impacts from offshore wind energy leasing activities in the Humboldt Wind Energy Area (WEA) offshore California.

Based on its analysis, BOEM has issued a finding of no significant impact (FONSI).

“The completion of this Environmental Assessment represents an important step forward for ensuring that any future renewable energy development – should a lease sale occur — is done in a responsible manner,” said Amanda Lefton, BOEM Director.

The Humboldt WEA is approximately 132,369 acres (206.8 miles) that, if developed, could bring up to 1.6 GW of clean energy to the grid, enough to power about 560,000 homes.

BOEM

BOEM’s Environmental Assessment (EA) considers the potential environmental impacts of site characterization and assessment activities within the Humboldt WEA.

Site characterization activities include biological, archaeological, geological, and geophysical surveys needed to develop specific project proposals on those leases. Site assessment activities could include the installation and operation of meteorological buoys in support of leases that may be issued.

The EA also considers project easements associated with each potential lease and related right-of-way grants for subsea cable corridors in the Humboldt WEA.

Before approving the construction of any offshore wind energy facility on a potential future lease in the Humboldt WEA, BOEM will develop an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to analyze the specific environmental and socioeconomic consequences, in consultation with Tribes and appropriate federal, state, and local agencies, and with participation by stakeholders and the public.

BOEM initially announced its intent to prepare an EA for the Humboldt WEA in July 2021. The Federal agency sought public input on the issues and alternatives to be considered in the EA.

At the beginning of this year, BOEM published the draft EA and, in conjunction with its release, held two public virtual meetings with stakeholders to facilitate their input.

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The release of the draft EA initiated a 30-day public comment period on the analysis document that closed on February 10, 2022.

The boundary of the Humboldt WEA begins 21 miles offshore of the city of Eureka in northern California. The area is about 28 miles in length from north to south and about 14 miles in width from east to west.

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