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  June 13th, 2016 | Written by

BOEM Initiates California Offshore Renewable Energy Task Force

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  • U.S. task force will coordinate renewable energy activities offshore California.
  • Task force will facilitate coordination and communication among governments and agencies on renewable energy activities.
  • California Governor Jerry Brown: Renewable energy resources present important potential future opportunities.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has initiated planning with the State of California to establish an Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force to examine opportunities for offshore renewable energy development along the Golden State.

California Governor Jerry Brown requested formation of the task force in a May 12 letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

“In response to Governor Brown’s request, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has directed BOEM to work with the State of California to establish a task force to coordinate and consult on potential renewable energy activities on the OCS offshore California,” said Janice Schneider, Interior Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management.

The task force will facilitate coordination and communication in a partnership between BOEM, which manages the exploration and development of the nation’s offshore energy and mineral resources at the federal level, and state, local, and tribal governments and federal agencies concerning potential renewable energy leasing for research activities and commercial development on federal submerged lands on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), offshore California.

“While offshore renewable energy resources have not yet played a significant role in California’s energy system, they present important potential future opportunities,” said California Governor Jerry Brown in his May 12 letter to Secretary Jewell. “There are significant offshore resources along most of California’s coast that complement the profile of onshore solar resources, and new developments in offshore wind technology–such as larger facilities that are not visible from land and present little to no adverse avian impacts–will likely make projects more viable.”

In April 2009, the Obama Administration announced the final framework for renewable energy development on the outer continental shelf. This framework establishes the process BOEM uses for granting leases, easements and rights-of-way for offshore renewable energy development activities, such as the siting and construction of facilities on the OCS. The framework also allows for BOEM to use task forces in carrying out its responsibilities for authorizing OCS renewable energy activities.

BOEM has established Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Forces for 13 other coastal states, which provide critical information for our decision-making process, including how to resolve potential conflicts between development and environmental concerns and other uses.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, areas of the west coast of the United States and Hawaii hold great renewable energy potential. In particular, these areas have the potential to generate over 1.5 terawatts of offshore wind energy. This potential presents a compelling market opportunity that would assist states in meeting many of their ambitious and critically important renewable energy goals.