On Wednesday, July 23, the Minerals Management Service ("MMS") announced that it will proceed with next steps to issue 12 limited leases to conduct wind, wave, and ocean current data collection and technology testing activities on the Outer Continental Shelf ("OCS"). The announcement came two weeks after MMS published its proposed rule governing alternative energy leasing on the OCS for public notice and comment. Because a final rule is not expected until the end of the year, the 5-year, noncompetitive limited leases will be issued under MMS's interim policy for authorizing projects. Limited leases issued under the interim policy will be regulated according to the same rules set-out for limited leases in the proposed rule and will not grant to the lessees any right or priority for commercial development.
Wind resource data collection will be conducted by Bluewater Wind (4 leases), Fisherman's Energy (1 lease), Winergy Power (2 leases), and Southern Company (3 leases) off the coasts of Delaware, New Jersey, and Georgia. Aquantis (1 lease) will conduct ocean current data collection and technology testing off the coast of Florida; and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (1 lease) will conduct wave resource data collection off the coast of Mendocino, California.
One proposed lease site off the coast of Humbolt, California and three proposed lease sites off the coast of Florida drew overlapping interest from competing nominators. MMS will not hold competitive bidding processes for these sites due to time, personnel, and budget constraints. MMS has encouraged the interested parties to collaborate on resource data collection activities. If they agree to collaborate, MMS will proceed with a noncompetitive leasing process.
For more information on the MMS's July 9, 2008 proposed regulations governing Alternative Energy and Alternate Uses of Existing Facilities on the Outer Continental Shelf, see Stoel Rives' executive summary of the key provisions. Comments on the proposed rules must be submitted to MMS no later than Monday, September 8, 2008.
For more information on MMS's interim policy for issuing leases on the OCS, see the Federal Register Notice.
For more information on MMS's announcement, see the press release.
If you have further questions, please contact:
Michael O'Connell at email@example.com or (206) 386-7692
Cherise Oram at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 386-7622
Chad Marriott at email@example.com or (503) 294-9264