Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Virginia Environmental Assessment

Report

Title: Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Virginia Environmental Assessment
Publication Date:
December 01, 2014
Pages: 210

Document Access

Website: External Link
Attachment: Access File
(5 MB)

Citation

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; Office of Renewable Energy Programs (2014). Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Offshore Virginia Environmental Assessment. Report by Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), BOEM Office of Renewable Energy Programs, and US Department of the Interior (DOI). pp 210.
Abstract: 

The Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Mines Minerals and Energy (DMME), submitted a research lease application to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on February 8, 2013 for the installation and operation of two 6-MW turbines, as well as metocean monitoring equipment, and associated cabling to shore outside of the Virginia wind energy area (WEA). On July 30, 2013, BOEM published a "Public Notice of an Unsolicited Request for an Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Research Lease, Request for Competitive Interest, and Request for Public Comment" (78 FR 45965) for a 30-day comment period to obtain public input on the research proposal received from DMME, its potential environmental consequences, and the use of the area in which the proposed project would be located. The notice and comments received are published (Federal Register) under Docket No. BOEM-2013-0020. In December 2013, BOEM published a Determination of No Competitive Interest. These notices and DMME’s application can be found at http://www.boem.gov/Research-Nomination-Outside-and-to-the-West-of-the-W....

 

In December 2013, DMME submitted a research activities plan (RAP, 2014) for the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Project (VOWTAP) area. The Virginia Electric and Power Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dominion Resources, Inc. (Dominion) would be the owner and operator of VOWTAP and would work under the terms of an operator agreement with DMME and the terms of the Section 238 Research lease. DMME requested that BOEM work directly with Dominion on the review leading to approval of the RAP, as well as any associated environmental reviews. Also, the Department of Energy (DOE) is proposing to provide funding to Dominion to support the development of VOWTAP. The RAP details the construction, operation and eventual decommission of the two turbines and cabling to shore, and biological and physical survey information. The RAP must be consistent with a construction and operations plan (COP) (30 CFR § 585.620, § 585.638). DMME’s RAP must be approved or approved with modifications by BOEM before DMME can construct the research facility (30 CFR § 585.628). This EA considers whether approval DMME’s RAP would lead to reasonably foreseeable significant impacts on the environment, and thus, whether an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) should be prepared (40 CFR § 1508.9). BOEM considered the reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts of lease issuance and site assessment activities offshore New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia under the Mid Atlantic EA (BOEM, 2012a) and published a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The Mid Atlantic EA and FONSI can be found at http://www.boem.gov/uploadedFiles/BOEM/Renewable_Energy_Program/Smart_fr....

 

In February 2014, DMME submitted a site assessment plan (SAP) for the installation and operation of two meteorological buoys. BOEM will consider under the Mid Atlantic EA and FONSI the approval of the SAP, which contains DMME’s detailed proposal of the site assessment activities. DMME’s SAP must be approved or approved with modification by BOEM before it conducts these site assessment activities on the leasehold (30 CFR § 585.613). Site assessment activities were not considered in this EA.

 

On March 14, 2014, BOEM published the Notice of Intent (NOI) (79 FR 14534) to prepare an EA to consider the reasonably foreseeable environmental consequences associated with the approval of DMME’s wind energy-related research activities offshore Virginia. BOEM requested public input regarding important environment issues and the identification of reasonable alternatives that should be considered in the EA. BOEM held a public scoping meeting on April 3, 2014 in Virginia Beach, VA to solicit comments on the scope of the EA. Neither of these public comment opportunities provided any 2 alternatives that BOEM should consider during the development of the EA. The notice and comments received are published under Docket ID BOEM-2014-0009 (79 FR 14534).

 

On May 6, 2014, BOEM offered a research lease to DMME, which was considered under the Mid Atlantic EA and FONSI. Lease negotiations are ongoing between BOEM and DMME.

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