Technological advancements, tax incentives, and concerns about climate change have driven a global expansion in the development of renewable energy resources. Wind energy is a fast-growing source of new electric power generation, and U.S. wind energy production capacity has been increasing consistently over the past several years. Currently, in contrast to Europe, all but one commercial wind power facility in the United States is based on land. However, multiple offshore wind and related infrastructure projects have been proposed in recent years to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

The focus of this report is the current law applicable to siting offshore wind facilities, including the relationship between state and federal jurisdictional authorities. This report also discusses court challenges to early federal offshore wind energy permitting decisions; regulatory activity following the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that clarified jurisdiction over permitting of offshore wind facilities; and recent developments with respect to the existing statutory and regulatory framework for offshore wind energy production.

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