As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to creating nearly 80,000 jobs through developing 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030, the Department of the Interior recently announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will conduct an environmental review of a proposed wind energy project offshore North Carolina. (Logo quoted from Yahoo’s image)
This project, if approved, would be the first to operate offshore North Carolina and has the potential to provide considerable economic benefits to the region during construction and throughout the project's lifetime. The project would make landfall in Virginia Beach and could eventually provide power to Virginia.
“Offshore wind is a critical component of this Administration’s commitment to confronting climate change, creating thousands of good-paying union jobs, and jump-starting our country’s transition to a cleaner energy future,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “These states are stepping up and working together to lift up this growing industry. At the Interior Department, we are doing our part to ensure all of these projects are done thoughtfully and with consideration of impacts to surrounding communities.”
BOEM published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the Federal Register, which will open a 30-day public comment period extending through 11:59 p.m. ET on August 30, 2021.
BOEM will review a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) submitted by Kitty Hawk Wind LLC (Kitty Hawk) for a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project consisting of up to 69 total wind turbine generators, one offshore substation, inter-array cables, and up to two transmission cables that will make landfall in Virginia Beach.
North Carolina has set ambitious goals to develop 2.8 GW of offshore wind energy off of the state’s coast by 2030 and 8 GW by 2040. The state estimates that meeting that goal would power 2.3 million homes by 2040.
The Commonwealth of Virginia enacted the Virginia Clean Economy Act in 2020, which sets a target of producing its electricity from 100% renewable sources by 2045, with 5.2 GW of offshore wind energy by 2034. If approved, this project will contribute towards each of the state’s offshore wind goals.
Additionally, the Commonwealth of Virginia, State of North Carolina, and State of Maryland have established the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Transformative Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Resources (SMART-POWER) to “promote, develop, and expand offshore wind energy generation and the accompanying industry supply chain and workforce” in the region.
Development of the Kitty Hawk Wind Project could help SMART-POWER promote the region as an offshore wind energy and industry hub and build the region’s supply of clean, renewable energy.
“The full economic benefits of offshore wind energy can only be realized if we all come together to advance responsible development of offshore wind,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “If approved, the Kitty Hawk offshore wind project will not only provide clean, reliable energy where it is needed most, it will help boost the region as a manufacturing and supply chain hub for the offshore wind industry.”
As part of BOEM’s environmental review, the agency must first identify what should be considered in the EIS, such as important resources and issues, potential impacts to the environment, reasonable alternatives, and mitigation measures.
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