Interior Department Allows Offshore Wind and Ocean Energy Testing

May 21, 2008

The U.S. Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) has designated five areas on the Outer Continental Shelf for testing new energy technologies related to wind power, wave energy, and ocean currents. The five areas are located off the coasts of California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey. The agency is proposing limited, temporary leases in these areas for data collection and technology testing, but commercial energy production will not be allowed.

In November 2007, the MMS proposed allowing such short-term leases and requested detailed information from parties wishing to obtain such leases. In response, the agency received more than 40 nominations for research projects, of which 16 could be located in the five newly designated areas. Ten of the proposed projects relate to wind power and would be located off the coasts of Delaware, Georgia, and New Jersey. In addition, 4 ocean current projects would be located near the Florida coast and 2 wave energy projects would be located off the Northern California shore. Public comments on the proposed lease areas are due by June 17. See the MMS press release.