US agencies to encourage offshore renewable energy projects

The two agencies will spur development of future commercial-scale offshore wind and water energy projects. The MOU will also facilitate development of domestic energy resources by pursuing priority leasing and efficient regulatory processes for sites with high development potential for commercial-scale offshore wind and water power.

The wind and water resources off US coasts offer a vast and largely untapped energy potential. A recent DoE report estimates that offshore wind energy has the potential to generate 54 GW by 2030.

“Renewable energy development holds great promise for our clean energy future and our economy,” says DoI secretary Ken Salazar.

“This joint framework with DoE will bring together resources and expertise from both agencies as we pursue the environmentally responsible development of these valuable renewable energy resources.”

“We have a major opportunity to tap the energy in waves and offshore wind,” adds DoE secretary Steven Chu. “Increasing cooperation between our agencies will help make clean, renewable energy a reality.”

MOU to augment exchanges on renewable energies

The two departments will exchange information on resources and technologies, conduct stakeholder engagements, and collaborate on renewable energy research projects. These activities will augment the scientific and technical exchanges that already occur between the DoI and DoE.

The MOU requires an interagency working group to develop an action plan within 30 days. The plan will cover:

  • Development of attainable deployment goals for offshore wind and marine and hydrokinetic energy on the OCS;
  • Siting and permitting;
  • Resource assessment;
  • Technical standards; and
  • Data exchange and public engagement.

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act gives DoI the authority to issue a lease, easement or right-of-way for activities that produce or support production or transmission of energy from sources other than oil and gas.

“This MoU is intended only to improve the working relationships of the Participants in connection to OCS renewable energy development” and will involve quarterly meetings to review progress and identify opportunities for advancing the principles of the MoU.

The MoU (Coordinated Deployment of Offshore Wind and Marine and Hydrokinetic Energy Technologies on the United States Outer Continental Shelf) will terminate in five years.