Government agencies sign MOU to spur offshore hydro, wind projects

The Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy announced a new memorandum of understanding intended to strengthen the working relationship between the two agencies on the future development of commercial renewable offshore hydro and wind projects on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.

"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."

Together, DOI and DOE will use this agreement to spur the development of future commercial-scale offshore wind and hydro projects. The wind and water resources off the United States' coasts offer a vast yet largely untapped energy potential. 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.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said: "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."

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.

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
Resource assessment
Technical standards
Data exchange and public engagement

The U.S. Department of Energy, Department of the Interior and Army Corps of Engineers recently signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the development of hydropower.

Included in the MOU are the goals of identifying future sustainable hydropower generation sites, upgrading existing hydro projects and promoting new hydropower technologies while increasing cooperation among agencies. The MOU also calls for an increased emphasis on environmentally-friendly hydropower production practices.

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