Interior Department Announces Key Offshore Wind-energy Transmission Line

A 847-mile long transmission line could deliver wind energy generated off the East Coast to cities up and down the eastern seaboard.

WASHINGTON—The Interior Department announced plans yesterday to review a proposal for  an 847-mile long transmission line capable of delivering some 7,000 megawatts of wind energy generated off the Atlantic coast to the grid.

The proposed Offshore Atlantic Wind Connection transmission line would link up to offshore wind energy areas off Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia. Interior will announce the locations of these wind energy areas next month.

Defenders of Wildlife advocates for “Smart from the Start” clean energy development, where projects and transmission lines are guided to low-conflict areas and avoid and effectively mitigate unavoidable impacts to wildlife.

Defenders will be reviewing the plan to ensure that it protects key habitat for the endangered right whale, important flyways for migratory birds and habitat for other sensitive  wildlife.

The following is a statement from Jim Lyons, Defenders of Wildlife’s senior director for renewable energy:

“Defenders of Wildlife supports renewable energy that is ‘Smart from the Start’ and is part of a comprehensive strategy for offshore wind energy, which includes transmission.

“The Atlantic coast  offers  significant clean energy potential that can help shift our nation away from dangerous and dirty fossil fuels and offshore drilling. But the key to wind energy’s success is developing wind projects and  transmission lines in low-conflict areas and operating them  to avoid harming sensitive wildlife and habitat.

Right Whales, (c) Brian J. Skerry / National Geographic Stock

Right whales are critically endangered.

“Some of these offshore waters are critically important to endangered right whales and other important wildlife species.  We will be reviewing the proposed route to determine if the project can be permitted efficiently and with greater certainty for developers, investors, and conservationists by avoiding and effectively mitigating unavoidable impacts on right whales and other imperiled wildlife.”