On March 14, 2013, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (or BOEM, part of the Department of Interior) announced that it had found “no competitive interest” in the offshore area where the Commonwealth of Virginia (specifically, the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, or DMME) is seeking a federal lease for research activities on the potential for offshore wind energy. According to BOEM’s news release on the finding (which was made after a public-comment period closed on January 22, 2013), the “decision clears the way for DMME to submit a plan for renewable research activities, including siting and installation of two meteorological and ocean monitoring platforms to collect data on wind velocities, water levels, waves, and bird and bat activities.” DMME submitted an application to BOEM for a research lease in June 2012.
This development follows the December 2012 announcement by Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell’s office that the company Furgo Atlantic of Norfolk (http://www.fugroatlantic.com/) was selected to conduct a geological survey of the area (called the Virginia Wind Energy Area and comprising about 113,000 acres located 23 nautical miles offshore from Virginia Beach). The $600,000 survey, to be funded 50:50 by the Commonwealth and the BOEM, is intended provide information on the physical and environmental characteristics of the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. Such information is needed to allow design of offshore wind-energy structures.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management News Release, 3/14/13; Governor McDonnell Applauds Award for Offshore Wind Turbine Technology Demonstration to Virginia Utility, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 12/13/12.