Offshore Wind in the Northeast Region
This webpage is collaboratively managed by the Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils
There is growing interest in the development of offshore wind energy resources in the Northeast. The Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils are working with NOAA Fisheries to provide input on wind development activities in our region to ensure the impacts to the marine environment and the Councils’ managed resources and fisheries are considered.
The Mid-Atlantic and New England Councils, working with NOAA Fisheries, have collaboratively developed this wind page to link to information and resources that may be relevant to wind planning discussions. This page also provides information related to the Councils' involvement in, and comments on, wind energy development activities, as well as resources for its stakeholders.
Notices to Fishermen
As developers provide the Mid-Atlantic or New England Fishery Management Councils with information regarding offshore surveys, buoy installations, and other activities that may occur in areas used by fishermen, those notices will be posted at http://www.mafmc.org/offshore-wind-notices.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)
Development of offshore wind resources falls under the purview of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). There are several ways to engage in and stay informed about BOEM activities:
Offshore Wind Projects and Fishery Representatives/Liaisons: Offshore wind developers are required to have a fishery representative and liaison for each project. These individuals are responsible for engaging with and disseminating project information to the local fishing community, as well as other associated stakeholders that may be affected by the wind projects. Visit BOEM's Fishing Industry Communication and Engagement web page to find information about fishery liaisons and representatives for offshore wind projects in the Northeast.
State Activities: BOEM is working closely with the states and coordinates federal-state task forces. A summary of the status of activity in the different states can be found on BOEM's State Activities page.
Get Email Updates: To stay informed about offshore wind activities and public comment opportunities, sign up to receive email updates from BOEM .
Department of Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) conducts and funds Research & Development activities related to offshore wind energy, through its Wind Energy Technology Office (WETO). “DOE aims to reduce the levelized cost of energy through technological advancement to compete with local electricity costs, and create the conditions necessary to support DOE’s Wind Vision study scenario levels of deployment by supporting the coexistence of offshore wind with the environment, coastal communities, and other users of ocean space” [Source, National Offshore Wind Strategy Report.] To stay informed about wind energy activities and public comment opportunities, sign up to receive email updates from the DOE.
Additional DOE Resources:
Northeast Wind Developers
Visit the wind developer websites listed below for information about specific projects in the Northeast region. BOEM's Renewable Energy Leases Map Book provides details about the locations of active commercial and research leases.
Council Policies and Comment Letters on Offshore Wind
The Councils periodically provide comments on the potential impacts of proposed wind development activities on fisheries and fish habitat. Listed below are links to relevant comment letters and Council policies on offshore wind development.
New England Council
Joint Comment Letters
Offshore Wind Resources
The following section provides more detailed information about marine resources and fisheries in our region relative to wind activities and other ocean uses.
Project-specific Information on Fisheries and Marine Environment
New York/New Jersey energy transmission line: On June 17, 2019, BOEM announced a request for competitive interest and public comments on the development of a New York/New Jersey energy transmission line to deliver offshore wind energy to the onshore electric grid. Comments are due by July 19, 2019.
MAFMC Comment Letter (7/15/19)
NEFMC Comment Letter (7/17/19)
Vineyard Wind Energy Facility (off Massachusetts): On December 7, 2018 BOEM published a Notice of Availability (NOA) for the Draft EIS for Vineyard Wind’s proposed wind energy facility. See the comments submitted by both Councils through a joint letter (dated 1/22/19) above.
South Fork Wind Energy Facility (off Rhode Island and Massachusetts): On October 17, 2018 BOEM published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS for Deepwater Wind South Fork LLCs proposed wind energy facility.
New York Bight Call for Information: On April 11, 2018 BOEM published a Call for Information and Nominations, launching a public comment period to allow stakeholders to formally provide feedback on the potential for development of new wind energy areas in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of New York, an area referred to as the New York Bight.
NOAA Fisheries response to New York Bight Call for Information (6/7/18) - provides detailed information that describes considerations related to fisheries and the marine environment.
BOEM Draft Wind Energy Areas in the NY Bight - after reviewing the comments received in response to the Call for Information and Nominations, comments received during stakeholder meetings and general feedback, BOEM has delineated draft Wind Energy Areas in the New York Bight.
Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) Mapper
This online mapping application provides resource managers and the public with an interactive platform for viewing a spatial representation of EFH, or those habitats that NOAA Fisheries and the Councils have identified and described as necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity. Every year, NOAA Fisheries habitat experts advise federal agencies on projects, from port expansions to offshore energy development, including wind. A consultation is required whenever a federal agency, including the military, authorizes, funds, or undertakes an action (such as authorizing construction of a wind farm) in an area that will affect essential fish habitat. More information on the EFH consultation process is available on the NOAA Fisheries webpage.
Endangered Species and Critical Habitat
This online mapping application provides resource managers and the public with an interactive platform for identifying where endangered and threatened species and their critical habitat occurs within the Greater Atlantic Region. All federal actions that may affect a species or critical habitat listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) must undergo a consultation between the lead federal agency and NOAA Fisheries or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, depending on the species. All offshore wind activities are likely to require consultation with NOAA Fisheries to consider effects to ESA listed whales, sea turtles, and fish. More information on the ESA Section 7 consultation process is available on the NOAA Fisheries webpage.
Regional Ocean Data Portals
The Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal and Northeast Ocean Data Portal are online resources that consolidate available data to visualize and analyze ocean resources and human use information such as fishing grounds, recreational areas, shipping lanes, habitat areas, and energy sites, among others.
Responsible Offshore Development Alliance
The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance (RODA) is a broad membership-based coalition of fishing industry associations and fishing companies with an interest in improving the compatibility of new offshore development with their businesses. It endeavors, through proposed collaborations with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and other partners, to coordinate science and policy approaches to managing development of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in a way that minimizes conflicts with existing traditional and historical fishing.
Responsible Offshore Science Alliance
The Responsible Offshore Science Alliance (ROSA) was formed in March 2019. ROSA is an independent 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing for and advancing regional research and monitoring of fisheries and offshore wind interactions in federal waters through collaboration and cooperation in order to: (a) Increase salient and credible data on fisheries and wind development; and (b) increase the understanding of the effects of wind energy development on fisheries and the ocean ecosystems on which they depend.
BOEM Report on Best Management Practices and Mitigation Measures to Address Potential Use Conflicts between Commercial Wind Energy Lessees/Grantees and Commercial Fishermen on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf
Mid-Atlantic Council: Julia Beaty, email@example.com, (302) 526-5250
New England Council: Michelle Bachman, firstname.lastname@example.org, (978) 465-0492 ext. 120
NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Office: Sue Tuxbury, email@example.com, (978) 281-9176
NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center: Andy Lipsky, firstname.lastname@example.org, (401) 829-8286
Disclaimer: Many of the links on this page lead to external websites not managed by the Mid-Atlantic or New England Council. We have made every effort to ensure that the resources listed on this page are relevant and up-to-date. However, the Councils cannot guarantee the accuracy of information provided on non-Council websites. References to external websites do not constitute endorsement or recommendation by either Council. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the staff members listed at the bottom of this page.