BOEM and Hawaii Launch Offshore Renewable Energy Task Force
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held its first offshore renewable energy task force meeting with the state of Hawaii. This inter-governmental task force was established to facilitate communication between BOEM and state, local, Native Hawaiian and federal stakeholders concerning renewable energy leasing for research activities and commercial development on federal submerged lands, known as the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), offshore Hawaii.
The task force includes state government officials designated by the governor and officials from relevant federal agencies, as well as local government officials.
“BOEM created this task force at Governor Abercrombie’s request to coordinate and consult with the State of Hawaii and others on potential renewable energy activities on the OCS offshore Hawaii,” said BOEM Director Tommy P. Beaudreau. “Working closely with stakeholders will allow us to identify and address issues relating to future offshore renewable energy leasing and development in a way that is smart from the start and supports Hawaii’s clean energy goals.”
“Hawaii is home to a wide range of natural energy resources and is fast becoming a major test bed for innovative alternative and renewable energy projects,” said Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie. “This inter-governmental task force will encourage development of Hawaii’s offshore alternative energy options to lessen our islands’ dependence on foreign oil, provide a bridge to a fully realized renewable energy future, and allow more clean energy projects – and the quality jobs that come with them – to come to fruition.”
The task force meeting included an overview of existing regulatory processes and discussions on how best to complement Hawaii’s Clean Energy Initiative when considering renewable energy development on the OCS, which starts three-miles from the coast. The initiative established the goal of transforming Hawaii’s energy supply to 70 percent clean energy by 2030.
In April 2009, President Barack Obama and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the final framework for renewable energy development on the OCS. 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 renewable energy 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 in partnership with state, local and federal agencies and tribal governments.
Elsewhere, BOEM has established renewable energy task forces with Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.