Virginia seeks federal approval for offshore wind test facility

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) said in a notice to be published in the July 30 Federal Register that the state of Virginia has applied for approval for an offshore, 12-MW wind power test facility.

The Feb. 13 proposal was submitted to BOEM by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) to acquire an Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lease for wind energy research activities. BOEM is now soliciting indications of interest in a renewable energy lease in the area identified by DMME for substantially similar wind energy activities and also public input regarding the proposal, its potential environmental consequences, and the use of the area in which the proposed project would be located. If BOEM receives no competing indications of interest for a lease in response to this notice, BOEM may decide to move forward with the research leasing process.

The objective of DMME is to obtain a lease for renewable energy research activities, including wind turbine installation and operational testing and the installation of metocean monitoring equipment. The objective of the DMME proposal is to design, develop, and demonstrate a grid-connected 12-MW offshore wind test facility on the OCS off the coast of Virginia.

The proposed research lease area consists of six OCS sub-blocks (an OCS subblock is 1,200 meters by 1,200 meters in area). The six sub-blocks requested by DMME are located immediately adjacent to the western edge of the Virginia Wind Energy Area (WEA). The Virginia WEA, which consists of more than 19 full OCS blocks, will be offered for sale in lease sale Atlantic Wind One (ATLW1). On July 23, BOEM published a Final Sale Notice (FSN) in the Federal Register, announcing the sale of a commercial wind lease on the OCS offshore Virginia.

In March 2011, Atlantic Grid Holdings LLC submitted an unsolicited application for a right of way (ROW) grant, for a buried offshore electrical transmission cable and infrastructure. A segment of the proposed cable project that is intended to support commercial development in the Virginia WEA also occupies the project area proposed by DMME. Following publication of a notice to determine competitive interest in the project, BOEM published its determination of no competitive interest on May 15, 2012.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.