USA: BOEM Forms South Carolina Task Force

USA: BOEM Forms South Carolina Task Force

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) yesterda held its first offshore renewable energy task force meeting in cooperation with South Carolina’s Energy Office.

This intergovernmental task force was established to facilitate communication between BOEM and state, local, tribal and federal stakeholders concerning commercial renewable energy leasing and development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off the coast of South Carolina. The task force includes state government officials designated by Governor Nikki Haley, officials from affected federal agencies, elected local government officials, and tribal leaders. Opening remarks at today’s meeting were given by BOEM Deputy Director Dr. Walter D. Cruickshank.

“BOEM established this task force to promote the close coordination that is necessary to make renewable energy projects offshore of South Carolina a reality,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “We will work together with the state and other stakeholders toward the generation of clean, renewable energy off of the coast of South Carolina as part of the all of the above energy strategy that our country needs.”

 “The South Carolina Energy Office is pleased to be able to work with BOEM and state, local, tribal and other stakeholders to play a role in the continued exploration of wind development on the Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of South Carolina,” said SC Energy Office director Ashlie Lancaster.

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

In April 2009, President Barack Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the final framework for renewable energy development on the OCS. This framework establishes the process BOEM 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 BOEM 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. As part of the “Smart from the Start” wind initiative announced by Secretary Salazar in November 2010 to facilitate offshore wind development, this task force will help identify priority areas on the OCS that have generally bountiful wind energy and relatively fewer potential environmental and use conflicts than other areas offshore South Carolina. BOEM will use that information to identify wind energy areas along the OCS that may be particularly suitable for potential offshore wind development.

BOEM has also established task forces with Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Oregon, and Hawaii.

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Offshore WIND staff, March 30, 2012; Image: boem

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