Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and Congresswoman Elaine Luria, have written to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) urging it to expedite regulatory processes for offshore wind development in coastal Virginia
“Virginia’s diverse maritime industry, workforce, port assets, deep, wide channels, and no overhead obstructions have positioned the Commonwealth to become a hub for manufacturing and ongoing operations and maintenance activities for projects along the Atlantic coast,” said the lawmakers in the letter.
“We are proud that the first two wind turbines permitted and constructed in federal waters are off our Commonwealth’s coast, producing clean energy for Virginians.
“Unfortunately, we have heard from local stakeholders and constituents that the adjacent Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project is at risk of delays due to the backlog at BOEM.” Dominion Energy filed a construction and operations plan (COP) for the 2.64-GW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project in December 2020.
In the letter, the lawmakers expressed concerns that bottlenecks in the permitting process may slow progress and prevent offshore wind investments. Currently, offshore wind developers have submitted 13 COPs to BOEM but have yet to receive a clear timeline for action. This backlog could stifle the development of an offshore wind industry supply chain.
In the letter to BOEM director Amanda Lefton, the legislators said, “As you begin your tenure as director, we want to draw your attention to the backlog of offshore wind project COPs and urge you to take all necessary measures to address this backlog. We ask the Bureau to thoughtfully advance the Coastal Virginia permitting process.”
They highlighted that the offshore wind energy industry in the US is projected to become a US$50Bn business over the next 30 years, and that Virginia’s diverse maritime industry, workforce, port assets and deep, wide channels position the Commonwealth to become a hub for manufacturing and operations and maintenance.
“Offshore wind is poised for substantial growth at a time when we must seize opportunities to help our region and nation recover from the economic devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we are concerned that bottlenecks in the permitting process slow progress and prevent critical investments in the US offshore wind industry. We understand that developers have submitted 13 COPs to BOEM but have not received a clear timeline for action. This backlog could delay the development of an offshore wind industry supply chain.
“We must explore any actions the federal government can take to expedite our regulatory processes for offshore wind development. We understand that staffing shortages hinder BOEM’s ability to quickly review necessary documentation and we are committed to assisting BOEM in this matter. Please provide any additional information that will help us fully understand the challenges BOEM faces and how you plan to expedite the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project.”
Riviera’s Offshore Wind Journal Conference will be held on 25 March 2021 - use this link for more details and to register for this virtual conference