No matter your industry, you’re going to need documentation to get your project off the ground. That includes the renewable energy sector. Much of this documentation is actually required by government agencies, including the BOEM. Here’s what you need to know about the BOEM, what can happen if you don’t have the necessary documentation, and why working with professional writers is the most efficient way to go.
What is BOEM?
BOEM is the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, part of the United States Department of the Interior. The agency was formed in 2011, replacing the Minerals Management Service (MMS). It has the mission: “to manage development of U.S. Outer Continental Shelf energy and mineral resources in an environmentally and economically responsible way.” The organization focuses on stewardship of energy and resources, science-informed decisions, and fundamental principles of ethical behavior, including scholarly and scientific integrity.
When it comes to renewable energy on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), the BOEM is responsible for offshore development. Their regulations focus on offshore wind energy, ocean wave energy (hydrokinetic), ocean current energy, offshore solar, and alternative uses of existing oil and gas platforms.
What are the BOEM Regulations for the Renewable Energy Sector?
If you wish to acquire an offshore wind commercial lease and begin construction on the site, there are four phases that make up BOEM’s renewable energy program. They include planning, leasing, site assessment, and construction and operations. It’s important to note that requirements may change as time goes on, as the agency plans to update as lessons are learned and stakeholder feedback comes in.
Planning and Analysis
Prior to a site going up for lease, there are certain steps BOEM will take to identify locations. These include the following:
- Organizing an intergovernmental task force
- A request for information and nominations
- Area identification
- Environmental reviews
When an area is deemed suitable for a lease, leasing notices are published. An auction may occur or lease terms will be negotiated with an organization. When terms are reached, a lease will be issued.
After the lease is granted, there will be pre-survey meetings and planning. Organizations will be required to submit a site assessment plan (SAP). This document should “provide a description of the proposed site assessment or technology testing activities that you plan to perform on your commercial lease.” The amount of information required in your SAP depends on the scope of your project. Smaller projects, for example, will not require as much information. The only survey data submitted should be in relation to proposed site assessment plans.
Once your SAP is reviewed and approved, the site assessment itself can take up to five years.
Construction and Operations
At the end of any site assessments and surveys, organizations are then required to submit a Construction and Operations Plan (COP). It should detail activities and facilities that are planned for the site, including any that will happen onshore. As with the SAP, the details provided in your COP may depend on the scope of the project. A Project Design Envelope (PDE) may also be submitted if you have a range of project designs in your COP.
After your COP is accepted, the BOEM will then complete environmental and technical reviews. If your COP is approved after this point in time (about two years), you will be required to submit design and installation plans before any construction begins, including the Facility Design Report (FDR) and Fabrication and Installation Report (FIR).
The FDR will include drawings of structures, summary of environmental data, information concerning engineering design data, calculations, and more. The FIR should include fabrication information, installation information, permits (including state, federal, and local), project easement, and any other environmental information.
Consequences for Not Meeting BOEM Regulations
What happens if you do not meet the regulations required by BOEM? Each of the plans and reports listed above (SAP, COP, FDR, FIR) have different documents required within the submitted piece. Each submission undergoes a multi-step review and approval process, which includes looking for completeness as well as sufficiency (quality and quantity of technical and environmental reviews).
Failure to submit a complete plan or report can lead to the following consequences:
- Project delays
- Construction delays
- Required documentation rewrites and resubmissions
- Rework of data and reviews
Delays and redos of the data and reviews will require more money and time from your organization, all of which further delays your project.
Could Professional Writers Help With BOEM Regulatory Documentation?
Professional writers can absolutely help you with BOEM regulatory documentation when it comes to the offshore renewable energy sector. They can help ensure you’re meeting all the required criteria when it comes to each plan and report, while also ensuring your documents are clear and concise. Working with someone who understands the process, regulations, and your industry can speed up the entire process and allow you to receive approvals from the BOEM faster.
Is it time to work with professional writers for your offshore renewable energy project? Shea Writing and Training Solutions has the experience in your industry to meet the regulations of the BOEM, as well as other agencies you may work with, including federal, state, and local levels. If you’re curious about our work and how we can assist going forward, reach us here.