US Georgia offshore wind EA ready

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has published its environmental assessment (EA) of an area offshore Georgia that Southern Company wants to lease for wind and other met-ocean research.

Southern Company would like to lease an area covering three outer continental shelf blocks three to 11 nautical miles (5.5 to 20.3km) facing the coast of Tybee Island.

It intends to deploy a meteorological tower and/or buoys during a five-year lease term. The devices will characterize the wind resources such as speed and direction, and collect other data regarding the lease area and surrounding region.

As required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), BOEM conducted an EA to consider environmental and socioeconomic impacts associated with issuing such a lease and subsequent site characterization activities.

These include geophysical, archaeological and biological surveys conducted prior to constructing the meteorological tower and/or deploying the buoys.

Southern Company submitted to BOEM the application to lease the proposed area in April 2011. It is a holding company that is among the nation’s largest owners of electric utilities.

Georgia generates two-thirds of its electricity from coal and natural gas, with nuclear 27%, according to the US Energy Department.