ATLANTIC CIITY, N.J. (AP). The federal government determined that the process for evaluating ocean sites in New York City and New Jersey for offshore Wind Energy projects will not cause any significant harm to the environment.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced Thursday that it had completed an environmental review of the types of activities required to study offshore wind sites.
The review only covers the investigative phase of wind projects. This includes biological, geological, and geophysical surveys, core samples taken from the ocean floor, and the placement of meteorological buoys.
This is not meant to be an environmental approval for individual wind project. Each development will need to be approved separately.
It allows developers to plan ambitious offshore wind projects in this area, known as the New York Bight.
BOEM’s director Amanda Lefton stated that the agency is committed to ensuring that any development in New York Bight is done responsibly, and that there are no or minimal impacts on the ocean.
This move comes as New Jersey moves aggressively to claim its position as the East Coast’s offshore wind center. It has approved three offshore projects so far, while many others are in the planning stage.
These three projects together aim to generate enough electricity to power more than 1.6 million homes. New Jersey has set a goal to generate 100% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050 and plans to solicit additional wind energy projects every 2 years until at least 2028.
The federal government set a goal to approve enough offshore wind farms nationwide by 2030 to produce enough electricity to power 10 million homes.
The environmental study included several areas such as benthic animals (which are creatures that live on or near the ocean floor); commercial and recreational fishing; finfish and invertebrates; essential fish habitat; marine mammals; sea turtles; and finfish, invertebrates. In each case, the agency concluded that the offshore wind development process would not cause significant damage.
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