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Environment

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management To Conduct Review Of N.C. Offshore Wind Project

The Department of the Interior recently announced that its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will conduct an environmental review of a proposed wind energy project offshore North Carolina.

BOEM published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the Federal Register on July 29, which opens a 30-day public comment period.

BOEM will review a construction and operations plan submitted by Kitty Hawk Wind LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Avangrid Renewables, for a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project consisting of up to 69 total wind turbine generators, one offshore substation, inter-array cables, and up to two transmission cables that will make landfall in Virginia Beach. 

This is the first project within the Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area (WEA) of Avangrid Renewables. The project consists of nearly 50,000 acres located over 27 miles off the coast of the Outer Banks, due East of Corolla, N.C., with a capacity of at least 800 megawatts (MW). When the entire 122,405-acre Kitty Hawk WEA is developed, it is expected to support a total generation capacity of up to 2,500 MW.

North Carolina has set goals to develop 2.8 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy off of the state’s coast by 2030 and 8 GW by 2040. Roy Cooper, North Carolina’s governor, recently issued an executive order highlighting the state’s commitment to offshore wind power and setting a target to procure 8 GW of offshore wind energy by 2040.

Virginia enacted the Virginia Clean Economy Act in 2020, which sets a target of to produce its electricity from 100% renewable sources by 2045, with 5.2 GW of offshore wind energy by 2034. 

If approved, the Kitty Hawk project will contribute towards each of the state’s offshore wind goals. 

As part of BOEM’s environmental review, the agency must first identify what should be considered in the EIS, such as important resources and issues, potential impacts to the environment, reasonable alternatives, and mitigation measures.

During the 30-day public comment period, BOEM will hold three virtual public meetings in August.

Biden Administration approves first major offshore wind project in U.S. waters

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on May 11 announced the approval of the construction and operation of the Vineyard Wind project, the first large-scale, offshore wind project in the U.S.

The 800-MW Vineyard Wind energy project will be located approximately 12 nautical miles offshore Martha's Vineyard and 12 nautical miles offshore Nantucket in the northern portion of Vineyard Wind’s lease area.  

 Vineyard Wind is a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc., and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

The Departments of Interior, Energy and Commerce on March 29 announced a shared goal to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind in the U.S. by 2030.