Ocean bureau extends comment period on Virginia offshore wind project

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is extending the comment period on an Environmental Assessment (EA) that considers the reasonably foreseeable environmental consequences associated with approval of wind energy-related research activities offshore Virginia.

This research work was proposed by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME). BOEM, in a notice to be published in the Jan. 2 Federal Register, said it is seeking additional public input on the EA, including comments on the completeness and adequacy of the environmental analysis. BOEM will consider public comments on the EA in determining whether to issue a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), or conduct additional analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments on the EA, which was first issued on Dec. 2 for 30 days of public comment, will now be accepted until Jan. 16, 2015.

On Dec. 6, 2013, BOEM issued a Determination of No Competitive Interest for a research lease requested by the DMME. DMME subsequently submitted a research activities plan (RAP) that describes the proposed construction, operation, maintenance, and eventual decommissioning of Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP).

The proposed project would consist of two 6-MW wind turbine generators (WTGs), a 34.5-kV AC submarine cable interconnecting the WTGs (inter-array cable), a 34.5-kV AC submarine transmission cable (export cable), and a 34.5-kV underground cable (onshore interconnection cable) that would connect the proposed project with existing infrastructure located in the City of Virginia Beach. The U.S. Department of Energy is proposing to provide funding in support of VOWTAP and is participating as a cooperating agency in the National Environmental Policy Act process.

Virginia Electric and Power, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dominion Resources (NYSE: D), would be the owner and operator of VOWTAP and would work under the terms of an operator agreement with DMME and the terms of a Section 238 Research lease. DMME requested that BOEM work directly with Dominion on the review leading to approval of the RAP, as well as any associated environmental reviews.

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.