Numerous Federal laws and interests are also at play in the Great Lakes. For example, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has Federal authority to approve or deny placement of structures in navigable waters. Nine other Federal agencies who signed the MOU also have regulatory roles or Federal interest in whether and how offshore wind gets permitted in the Great Lakes. The MOU establishes a Great Lakes Offshore Wind Energy Consortium (GLOWEC) that will make the regulatory and permit review processes transparent and provide insight into potential improvements to ensure that proposal reviews are clear and expeditious. With so many agencies involved, there is high potential for duplication and protracted review times that can be unnecessarily costly to both prospective developers and relevant state and federal government agencies.
The MOU does not create any new laws¸ call for new regulations or change existing authorities. Rather, it empowers the state and Federal agency signatories to coordinate and share information concerning how offshore wind proposals are reviewed and evaluated with the goal of improving coordination among all of the relevant agencies and ultimately the efficiency of such reviews.
The cooperation produced by the MOU is aimed at improving efficiencies in the review of proposed offshore wind projects by enabling simultaneous and complementary reviews, and avoiding duplicative reviews. The MOU will send a market signal to prospective developers and investors that the Great Lakes region is ready to consider offshore wind proposals and that the regulatory process will be timely and efficient. The concentrated efforts made possible by the MOU will also shore up existing investments in offshore wind technologies by ensuring a regulatory environment that inspires innovation and helps to bring clean energy solutions to market.
Access a release from GLC (click here). Access more on the specific MOU including a fact sheet and multiple releases (click here). Access more information on the GLWC (click here).
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