ATLANTIC CITY (N.J.) The federal government has determined the process of evaluating New York and New Jersey ocean sites for offshore wind energy projects will not cause significant environmental damage.
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 addresses the investigative stage of wind projects. It includes bio-archeological, geophysical, and geophysical survey and core samples from the ocean floor.
It is not intended as a final approval for individual wind turbine projects. This will have to happen separately for each development.
It allows developers to plan ambitious offshore wind projects in this area, known as the New York Bight.
Amanda Lefton, BOEM director, stated in a statement that BOEM is committed to ensuring that any development within the New York Bight does so responsibly and in a manner that minimizes or avoids 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.
The three projects will produce enough electricity to power over 1.5 million homes. New Jersey has set the goal of generating 100% clean energy by 2050. It plans to solicit additional wind power projects every two years until 2028.
The federal government has set the goal to approve enough offshore wind projects to generate enough electricity to power 10,000,000 homes by 2030.
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. The agency found that each case would not be a significant problem when it came to assessing the suitability of the sites for offshore wind development.
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