BOEM Central Atlantic WEAs

BOEM Publishes Final EA for Central Atlantic Offshore Wind Lease

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has finalized the environmental review of potential offshore wind lease activities in the Central Atlantic.

BOEM announced on 6 June the availability of its final Environmental Assessment (EA), which considers possible impacts from issuing leases for potential offshore wind development off the Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia coasts, including site assessment and site characterization activities such as geophysical, geological, and archaeological surveys.

The EA concluded that there would be no significant impacts from lease issuance, according to BOEM.

“We will continue to work closely with Tribes, our other government partners, ocean users, and the public to ensure that any development in the region is done in a way that avoids, reduces, or mitigates potential impacts to ocean users and the marine environment,” said Elizabeth Klein, BOEM Director.

In December 2023, the Department of the Interior (DOI) revealed plans for a proposed offshore wind lease sale involving two Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) in the Central Atlantic.

Lease Area A-2 consists of 101,443 acres and is located approximately 26.4 nautical miles from Delaware Bay. Lease Area C-1 consists of 176,505 acres and is approximately 35 nautical miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

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A month later, BOEM published its draft EA that assessed the potential impacts associated with site assessment and characterization activities related to issuing wind energy leases in the Central Atlantic.

BOEM plans to hold a sale in the Central Atlantic later this year with the final sale notice being published at least 30 days prior to the sale, detailing the time and date of the lease sale and qualified participants.

For any proposed offshore wind projects, BOEM will develop an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to analyze the specific impacts of those projects before making decisions on whether to approve the proposed construction and operations plan.

BOEM announced three Central Atlantic Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) in July and indicated that the area WEA B-1, which is not included in this lease sale, needed to be studied further.

Located approximately 23.5 nautical miles offshore Ocean City, Maryland, the WEA was removed from this proposed lease sale due to the significant costs and mitigation that would be required. However, WEA B-1 may be considered as part of a potential second lease sale in the Central Atlantic, which could occur as soon as 2025, BOEM noted.

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