Siting Offshore Wind

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) within the U.S. Department of Interior is responsible for determining where offshore wind development can occur in waters more than 3 nautical miles from shore. To be developed at scale, offshore wind projects require large swaths of the ocean. A typical wind farm may contain dozens or even hundreds of turbines, each spaced approximately one mile apart from each other.

In selecting areas of the ocean to lease for offshore wind development, the federal government must consider all existing ocean uses and environmental factors, selecting those areas that maximize the resource potential for offshore wind production while minimizing conflicts within the space. To assist in this process, New York State has spent years conducting extensive research, fieldwork, and public engagement to understand offshore wind and potential areas that offer the most benefit to New York’s electricity consumers and the least overall potential for impacts. Using this growing body of research, NYSERDA makes recommendations to the federal government to help inform the siting of potential offshore wind lease areas.

Learn more about BOEM’s renewable energy program: planning, leasing, site assessment, and construction and operations. Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.

Renewable Energy in the Ocean

While the Atlantic Ocean may look like a vast open space, the areas off of the northeastern and mid-Atlantic coasts are bustling with marine wildlife and heavily used for human activities, such as transportation, resource extraction, military exercises, shipping, fishing, and more. These marine ecosystems are naturally dynamic [PDF], with daily, seasonal, and annual variations in environmental conditions.

Advancing New Wind Energy Areas

Before making recommendations for new wind energy areas, New York State conducted rigorous fieldwork, analysis, and stakeholder outreach regarding appropriate locations for wind installations off the State’s Atlantic coast. In October 2017, the State recommended an Area for Consideration to BOEM. This area was refined through a comprehensive process based on available data and guided by stakeholder feedback, aiming to maximize benefits and minimize conflicts to ocean users. The State submitted extensive information supporting this recommendation, which the State views as best suited for future offshore wind development.

In April 2018, BOEM issued a notice [PDF] Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. identifying proposed locations for future wind energy development – this is called the New York Bight Call Area. New York’s recommended Area for Consideration was included inside the Call Area (see map below). BOEM has continued collecting feedback on the potential for developing new wind energy areas, but the federal agency has not yet come to a decision.

In confirming new Wind Energy Areas, BOEM will develop a Decision Memo to announce the identification of new Wind Energy Areas. BOEM will then initiate a formal Leasing Process [PDF] Link opens in new window - close new window to return to this page., including environmental assessment and public comments related to the identified areas and notice of proposed lease sale. Finally, offshore wind developers will compete, by auction, for the rights to develop the designated wind energy areas.