Last Monday, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced that it will perform an environmental study of the project in the waters off Kitty Hawk, paving the way for the construction of the largest East Coast wind farm. Even with this formal step, however, building on the project will not begin for several years.
The project will create enough “clean energy” to power 700,000 homes, according to Avangrid, the lease holder for the Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area (WEA). With a bid of slightly over $9 million in 2017, Avangrid secured the rights to lease more than 122,000 acres in the Atlantic off Kitty Hawk. The Amazon Wind Farm in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties is already operational.
The BOEM official announcement of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is in line with the original timeline for the offshore WEA’s full development. The public feedback period begins on August 1 and will last for 30 days. There will be no in-person meetings due to COVID regulations. The final approved document always includes public input, which is a vital aspect of an EIS.
Typically, a Draft EIS is issued, which will be revised before being approved as a final EIS. The impact statement is expected to be finished by August 2023, according to the BOEM timeframe. There are only a few stages left after the EIS is approved before construction can begin in late 2023 or early 2024.Although the Kitty Hawk WEA is the largest prospective East Coast WEA at this time, additional locations in federal seas, such as the waters off Massachusetts and New York, are being considered. The new locations under consideration are in line with a March announcement to produce 19 Gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030.