US Publishes Draft Bill to Boost Offshore Wind

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has released a draft version of a bill that would streamline the offshore wind development process and get new sources of affordable clean energy on the grid.

Senator Whitehouse requests feedback on his bill from all stakeholders, including federal, state, and local agencies, industries, developers, and communities.

The Senator released the draft discussion of the Create Offshore Leadership and Livelihood Alignment By Operating Responsibly And Together for the Environment (COLLABORATE) Act. 

The Act would improve permitting, coordination, and cooperation between agencies and with developers and stakeholders, establish a holistic process for offshore wind transmission, and boost support for fisheries and other potentially affected stakeholders, including the establishment of a compensation fund for eligible recipients.

Some provisions in the discussion draft include: creating a director for offshore wind in the White House; establishing a five-year leasing schedule for offshore wind, updated every two years; conducting offshore wind planning area impact studies ahead of assessing commercial interest in a lease area; updating the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) responsibilities for renewable energy production on the Outer Continental Shelf; and establishing designated project managers at agencies with permitting authorities.


Regarding offshore transmission, some provisions include initiating a BOEM rule for permitting offshore wind transmission, including lines independent of generation facilities, establishing standards to integrate different offshore wind transmission technologies, and funding the research and development necessary to build an integrating offshore wind transmission network.

When it comes to fisheries, provisions in the discussion draft include the establishment of a fund and compensation formula for affected stakeholders, the creation of a gear loss programme modeled after offshore oil and gas, and the implementation of two grant programmes for research on offshore wind development effects and supporting coexistence technologies.

The COLLABORATE Act is said to align with Senator Whitehouse’s RISEE Act, capping bidding credits for developers in lease auctions to protect states’ offshore wind revenues.

“Offshore wind is an abundant resource that we have to harness to meet our climate and clean energy goals. The Block Island Wind Farm is a successful model for offshore wind development.  My legislation applies the Rhode Island model of good-faith cooperation to the federal interagency process, while streamlining permitting and transmission problems,” said Whitehouse.


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