Presentation Description: The current process to identify potential offshore areas to lease for offshore renewable energy is led by BOEM using the mechanism of individual state Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Forces. The task forces include opportunities for agencies and other parties to provide feedback and exchange information. In the past, data gathering and feedback on areas being considered for lease covers potential conflicts with site assessment/characterization and wind farm construction. Typical topics include: wind resource, defense uses, habitats and species, commercial fishing, recreational uses, items of interest on the seabed, visual effects, and vessel navigation
The Coast Guard provides identified issues related to navigation safety and presents them at task force meetings. BOEM considers all inputs and selects areas to offer for lease. A thorough, quantitative assessment of navigation safety is not performed at this stage – a Navigation Safety Risk Assessment is included in developers’ submissions to BOEM after they are awarded a lease to obtain approval to construct an offshore wind farm. Areas selected for lease could be further de-conflicted through a quantitative study of navigation safety, which would also allow transparent comparisons between different areas being considered, and even sub-parts of such areas. Such a study could be conducted within the usual timeframes for data gathering by the state task forces. Would the additional information be worth the investment? We will look at two of the NY Bight Draft Wind Energy Areas to better understand this proposal.