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Biden Administration Announces Environmental Review for Proposed Offshore Wind Project Offshore Maryland

Mike Schuler
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June 6, 2022

The Biden Administration is continueing its streak of offshore wind project milestones.

On Monday, the Department of the Interior announced that its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will conduct an environmental review of the first proposed wind energy project for waters off Maryland.

This will mark the 10th offshore wind energy Construction and Operations Plan (COP) review initiated under the Biden-Harris administration.

The DOI plans to publish a Notice of Intent (NOI) this week to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the COP submitted by US Wind, LLC (US Wind).

The lease area is located approximately 10 nautical miles off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland, and approximately nine nautical miles offshore Sussex County, Delaware. If approved, the development and construction phases of the US Wind project could support up to an estimated 2,679 jobs annually over seven years and generate enough electricity to power up to 650,000 homes.

“President Biden has set the bar high for a clean energy future with ambitious offshore wind goals that will lower costs for families, create nearly 80,000 good paying jobs and make substantive progress as we work to confront the climate crisis,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “The Department of the Interior is continuing to meet the moment as part of this Administration’s all-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis, which includes early and ongoing engagement with nearby communities.”

According to the DOI, highlights from US Wind’s proposal off the coast of Maryland include:

  • Construction and operation of an offshore wind project with a total capacity between 1,100 and 2,000 megawatts of clean, renewable wind energy to the Delmarva Peninsula, which could power as many as 650,000 homes in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia each year.
  • Installation of up to 121 turbines, up to four offshore substation platforms, one meteorological tower and up to four offshore export cable corridors, which are planned to make landfall at 3 R’s Beach or Tower Road in the Delaware Seashore State Park in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

“If approved, this project will represent another step forward to creating a robust offshore wind industry here in the United States, all while creating good-paying, family-supporting jobs,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “We are committed to using the best available science and traditional knowledge to inform our decisions and protect the ocean environment and marine life. We look forward to receiving input from our government partners, ocean users and other stakeholders, which is critical to a successful environmental review process.”?

The Biden Administration has set a goal of deploying of 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power by 2030, with plans to hold up to seven potential offshore wind lease sales by 2025, including two already held earlier this year. The DOI last month proposed holding its first-ever offshore wind lease sale for waters off the coast of California, which would mark the third during the Biden Administration. Previously, February’s New York Bight offshore wind lease sale attracted a record $4.37 billion in high bids and the Carolina Long Bay offshore wind sale, held in May which received $315 million in winning bids. To date, BOEM has held a total of ten offshore wind lease sales.

US Wind won the rights to develop the Maryland lease area in a 2014 lease sale during which it submitted winning bids of $8.7 miilion.

The publication of the NOI opens a 30-day public comment period through July 8, 2022 as part of the process to help BOEM determine the scope of its environmental review.

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