Interior Advances Offshore Atlantic Transmission Line

May 23, 2012

The U.S. Department of the Interior and its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced on May 14 a finding of "no competitive interest" for the proposed Mid-Atlantic offshore wind energy transmission line. The decision clears the way for the project to move forward with the environmental review necessary to grant the company, Atlantic Grid Holdings, LLC, a right-of-way for the proposal to build a "backbone" transmission line that would enable up to 7,000 megawatts of wind turbine capacity to be delivered to the grid.

The proposed project is a high-voltage, direct-current subsea transmission system that would collect power generated by wind turbine facilities off the Atlantic coasts of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia. The first such offshore infrastructure proposed in the United States, the system's parallel, redundant circuits would total about 790 miles in length. The proposed transmission line would be constructed in phases to connect offshore wind power to the grid based on the company’s estimates of when offshore wind generation facilities will be in place. A right-of-way grant occupies a corridor 200 feet wide, centered on the cable with additional widths at the hubs. The right-of-way grant corridor is anticipated to extend about 790 miles. Full construction of all phases of the multi-stage project would take about 10 years.

Before proceeding with the review of this project, BOEM had to determine whether there were other developers interested in constructing transmission facilities in the same area. Last December, BOEM put out a request for competitive interest in order to gather that information. BOEM also solicited public comment on site conditions and multiple uses within the right-of-way grant area that would be relevant to the proposed project or its impacts. See the Interior press release.