On 11 January 2022, the United States Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for site assessment and characterization activities and the issuances of leases in the Humboldt Wind Energy Area. Assuming the agency finalizes the EA following public comment, its next step will be to hold an auction for offshore wind leases. While turbine construction is still years away—and subject to myriad other federal and state approvals—BOEM’s recent action represents an important milestone on the road to offshore wind energy on the West Coast. Humboldt Wind Energy Area [...]
Biden Administration Scraps Trump-Era Migratory Bird Rule, Looks Ahead to Incidental Take Permitting
On 4 October 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced its intent to revoke a Trump-era rule that limited the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) to prohibiting intentional take of avian species and instead develop a new rule for the authorization of what soon will again otherwise be prohibited incidental take. Effective 3 December 2021, the agency will return to implementing the MBTA as prohibiting “incidental take” of birds that results from otherwise lawful activities. As predicted, we will then be back to a world in which USFWS’s enforcement [...]
On 23 September 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom jumpstarted the state’s offshore wind energy industry by signing Assembly Bill (AB) 525 into law.AB 525 directs the California Energy Commission (CEC) to coordinate with other state agencies to develop a long-term strategic plan for offshore wind development in federal waters off the California coast. The bill also requires the CEC to establish statewide offshore wind capacity goals for 2030 and 2045 by the middle of 2022. These steps will lay the groundwork for large-scale installations off California’s 840-mile coast in the coming decades.Background and OverviewAssemblymember David [...]
Yesterday, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced a solicitation of public input on a proposed revision of the agency’s renewable energy permitting regulations. BLM intends to publish a proposed rule in early 2022. The BLM announcement includes links to two national and two regional listening sessions held between 14 September and 26 September where stakeholders can provide oral comments. BLM invites written comments within the same timeframe as well. BLM is specifically interested in comments on multiple topics that have been controversial within the renewable energy industry since BLM’s last retooling of its [...]
Offshore wind energy development is in its infancy in the United States compared to Europe. The nation’s first operational project came online in 2016 off the coast of Rhode Island. A few other projects have since gained traction up and down the Eastern seaboard. Deep, crowded waters and technological barriers have largely kept the West Coast out of the discussion. But, as floating turbine technologies become commercially feasible and open up the potential for massive amounts of wind power in California waters, recent inter-agency cooperative efforts have begun to clear a path, and developers are lining up.