New York moves ahead on offshore renewables

New York's plans for offshore renewable energy are moving along. Yesterday, BOEMRE held its first offshore renewable energy task force meeting in partnership with New York's Office of the Governor.

The task force was established to facilitate communication between BOEMRE and state, local, tribal and federal stakeholders concerning commercial renewable energy leasing and development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off the coast of New York. The task force includes state government officials designated by Governor David Paterson, officials from affected federal agencies, elected local government officials and tribal leaders.

"BOEMRE created this task force to facilitate the efficient and effective review of proposed renewable energy projects on the OCS offshore New York," said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich. "We will continue to work together to initiate the commercial leasing process that will enable New York to meet its renewable energy development goals and expand our nation's energy resource portfolio."

"The offshore renewable energy task force will provide a forum for communities and tribal governments along Long Island's south shore to review future offshore renewable energy proposals," Acting Secretary of State Ruth Noemi Colon said. "We know that the Department's efforts to plan for offshore renewable energy projects and to protect important ocean habitats will benefit greatly from task force discussions."

The task force meeting featured a discussion about the commercial leasing process for OCS renewable energy and a presentation of the draft task force charter. The task force members discussed options for starting the leasing process and the timelines for specific actions required by BOEMRE and the state for developing offshore renewable energy.

In April 2009, President Barack Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the final framework for renewable energy development on the OCS. This framework establishes the process BOEMRE uses for granting leases, easements, and rights-of-way for offshore renewable energy development activities, such as the siting and construction of wind generation facilities on the OCS. The framework also allows for BOEMRE to use task forces in carrying out its responsibilities for authorizing OCS renewable energy activities in partnership with state, local, and tribal governments, and federal agencies.

Task forces have been formally established with Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia, Delaware, Maine and Maryland, and are in process for North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.