On May 13, 2011, the U.S. Department of the Interior released a news release announcing that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has finalized a proposed rule that would eliminate an unnecessary step in the noncompetitive leasing process for commercial renewable energy development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.
The proposed rule could cut up to a year off of the current leasing process for some commercial wind energy projects located in the Atlantic. Under the current regulation, if BOEMRE begins the commercial wind lease process and only one company expresses interest in acquiring a lease in that specific area, the Bureau must issue a second Federal Register notice to request interest again to make sure there is no competitive interest. The second notice can add six to twelve additional months to the leasing process, and the bureau determined that this step was redundant. The proposed rule will make the leasing process more streamlined while maintaining the bureau’s notice obligations.
The final rule will be effective June 15, 2011.