The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on Monday announced three final wind energy areas (WEAs) in the Central Atlantic that could accommodate between 4 GW and 8 GW of offshore wind capacity.
The areas are located in comparatively shallow water offshore Delaware, Maryland and Virginia and total 356,550 acres. They were established after engagement with states, tribes, local residents, ocean users, federal government partners and other stakeholders. BOEM will now publish a Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental assessment of potential impacts from offshore wind leasing in the areas, triggering a 30-day public comment period. If BOEM decides to proceed with a lease sale in any of the WEAs, there will be another public comment period.
WEA A-2 of 101,767 acres is located 26 nautical miles from Delaware Bay, WEA B-1 of 78,285 acres is 23.5 nautical miles offshore Ocean City, Maryland, and WEA C-1 of 176,506 acres is located about 35 nautical miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, offshore Virginia.
The announcement comes after in November 2022, BOEM sought public comment on eight draft WEAs offshore North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, stretching over 1.7 million acres. The agency said today that it may identify additional WEAs in deeper waters in the Central Atlantic.
With respect to WEA B-1, BOEM is continuing to work with the Department of Defense and NASA to determine if their activities could coexist with wind development.
BOEM recently announced that it will hold an offshore wind energy lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico on August 29.