Environmental Consulting & Engineering Services - from Concept to Reality
BOEM Publishes ESS Study on Atlantic Coast Port Modifications & Impacts to Support Offshore Wind Industry
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) recently published a study completed by ESS Group, Inc., and subconsultants DNV GL and ICF International, entitled The Identification of Port Modifications and the Environmental and Socioeconomic Consequences (BOEM 2016-034). The study examines Atlantic coast port facilities and identifies the port modifications necessary to develop, stage, and install proposed offshore wind energy projects along the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
The study is intended to provide BOEM with documentation to support future NEPA reviews of offshore wind energy projects. It is also meant to aid in the project-specific assessment of potential environmental and socioeconomical impacts associated with the expansion and use of port facilities that support proposed Atlantic OCS offshore wind energy development projects.
The ESS project team developed criteria defining the port requirements necessary to support offshore wind development, which included identifying and classifying the Atlantic coast ports with potential to service the offshore wind energy industry. ESS also summarized the potential impact producing factors, potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts, and potential mitigation measures associated with the port modification activities.
While conducting the study, ESS worked closely with BOEM’s Renewable Energy Program Director and subject matter experts including port managers, offshore wind developers, industry suppliers, federal agencies, and European experts. Information was gathered through existing experiences, a review of the available literature, and input from industry experts.
ESS Project Manager Payson Whitney said, “While the study found that some ports already possess many of the necessary capabilities and infrastructure, the offshore wind industry is still evolving and there are unforeseen issues, technological advancements, and changing regulatory environments that could affect decisions regarding which port to use or change, and the types of port modifications necessary to support offshore wind projects.” He continued, “The study’s results confirmed the complexity of these projects, as well as the need for more consistent information about US port characteristics, site-specific information, and early coordination between various stakeholders.”
The report is available here.