The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s renewable energy program, overseen by the Office of the Director, works with bureau experts to establish, deploy and maintain an effective offshore renewable energy program.
BSEE develops and implements rigorous safety and environmental regulations and oversight of this nascent industry.
BSEE, in collaboration with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), is developing strategies to:
- Oversee safety and environmental requirements for facility design, fabrication, installation, operation, and decommissioning.
- Promote the safety of operations through regulatory requirements and programs such as safety management systems, inspections, incident reporting, and investigations.
- Enforce compliance with all applicable safety, environmental, and conservation laws and regulations.
The diagram below demonstrates the full timeline of the Offshore Wind Development process including the hand-off between BSEE and BOEM (click to enlarge):
Offshore Wind Energy Development
The Department of the Interior is committed to advancing the nation’s first-ever offshore wind energy goal—to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, which will create an estimated 80,000 family supporting jobs.
The nation’s first two commercial scale offshore wind projects in federal waters were approved in 2021:
- Vineyard Wind, an 800- megawatt project approved May 11, 2021.
- South Fork, a 130-megawatt project approved Nov. 24, 2021.
An additional 16 wind energy projects are currently under review, and if approved, these would secure more than 22 GW of clean energy.
The BSEE Mission: Workplace Safety And Environmental Protection
BSEE leads the development of workplace safety and environmental compliance strategies for offshore renewable energy projects on the Federal OCS. BSEE currently has an interdisciplinary team of technical, inspection, and policy experts tasked with our renewable energy mission. BSEE has engaged and is utilizing its existing expertise, and applying that expertise and experience to the growing offshore renewable energy industry.
In January 2023, regulations governing offshore renewable energy activities – including workplace safety and environmental compliance were officially transferred to BSEE, which clarified BSEE’s and BOEM’s roles and responsibilities and promotes offshore renewable energy production.
BSEE's compliance assurance strategy for renewable energy recognizes this industry’s unique operating environment, focuses on timely and rigorous reviews of industry plans to ensure they promote safe operations, includes robust safety management systems, and will comply with applicable regulations, lease stipulations, and other terms and conditions of BOEM’s plan approval.
BSEE is drawing from its experience regulating the offshore oil and gas sector and will also look to international best practices, learned over two decades of offshore wind energy production, to inform safety programs for OCS renewable energy operations. BSEE also engages other federal agencies including, but not limited to, the U.S. Coast Guard, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as academia, renewable energy industries, and state and local stakeholders to inform the development of BSEE’s renewable energy program functions.