The Minerals Management Service said it awarded a two-year, $443,000 contract to Eastern Research Group Inc. to study energy markets and the infrastructure needs of alternative energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf.
MMS, part of the U.S. Department of Interior, said the study would support its efforts to implement an offshore alternative energy program. MMS awarded the contract in October 2008; the study’s final report is due in late 2010.
Study findings are expected to contribute to socioeconomic analyses for environmental assessments and other decision documents on alternative energy development on the OCS. Initially the study is to focus on possible markets for alternative energy, including regional, emissions, and trading markets. The overview is to include information on market trends, and federal and state policies.
In a second phase, the study is to examine energy infrastructure. ERG will work with state Coastal Zone Management programs to define coastal areas and economic connections to alternative energy use. ERG also is to examine infrastructure needed to develop alternative energy on the OCS, such as energy grid operations, substations, and transmission lines.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 provided MMS with authority for alternative energy and related uses and activities on the Outer Continental Shelf, although the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also claims jurisdiction of OCS projects. (HNN 10/17/08)
In November 2007, MMS announced an interim policy to begin basic information-gathering efforts relating to development of OCS alternative energy resources, such as waves, ocean currents, and wind. Final rules are pending.