The Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy on Jun 29 announced a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will strengthen the working relationship between the two agencies on the future development of commercial renewable offshore energy projects on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
"Renewable energy development holds great promise for our clean energy future and our economy," said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. "This joint framework with DOE will bring together resources and expertise from both agencies as we pursue the environmentally responsible development of these valuable renewable energy resources."
"We have a major opportunity to tap the energy in waves and offshore wind. Increasing cooperation between our agencies will help make clean, renewable energy a reality," said Secretary Steven Chu.
Together, DOI and DOE will use this agreement to spur the development of future commercial-scale offshore wind and water energy projects. The wind and water resources off the United States' coasts offer a vast yet largely untapped energy potential. According to DOE's 20% Wind Energy by 2030 report, offshore wind alone has the potential to produce 54,000 megawatts by 2030. The MOU between DOI and DOE will facilitate the development of these domestic energy resources by pursuing priority leasing and efficient regulatory processes for sites with high, commercial-scale offshore wind and water power development potential.
The two agencies will exchange information on resources and technologies, conduct stakeholder engagements, and collaborate on research projects. These activities will augment the scientific and technical exchanges that already occur between the two Departments. By facilitating the development of offshore clean energy, this agreement will further the Obama Administration's goals of creating clean energy jobs, expanding the nation's renewable energy portfolio and easing America's reliance on fossil fuels.
The MOU states that within 30 days of its signing, an interagency working group will develop an Action Plan covering the following areas:
Development of attainable deployment goals for offshore wind and marine and hydrokinetic energy on the OCS:
Siting and Permitting
Data Exchange and Public Engagement
See the full text of the MOU (PDF document)