Governor issues executive order to explore future offshore wind development

Gov. Chris Sununu/File Photo

CONCORD, NH — Gov. Chris Sununu on Tuesday signed Executive Order 2019-06 (see below), an order preparing New Hampshire for future offshore wind development and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Offshore Renewable Energy Task Force. This executive order establishes four advisory boards focused on informing New Hampshire’s next steps, while calling on state agencies to report on key studies.

“New Hampshire recognizes the tremendous potential that offshore wind power has to offer,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “With today’s executive order, New Hampshire will ensure that this is an open and transparent process involving diverse stakeholders to balance existing offshore uses with a new source of clean energy. This will require enhanced coordination between state agencies, new studies, and continuous engagement with the public. Most of all, it’s imperative that we go through this process the right way from day one to maximize all the potential benefits of this new industry.”

This executive order lays the foundation for a robust stakeholder process informed by best practices from other states and ensures New Hampshire’s interests are first and foremost. The first BOEM Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force Meeting for the Gulf of Maine is December 12, 2019 at the University of New Hampshire.

The executive order establishes four advisory boards to work with stakeholders, and advise New Hampshire members of the BOEM Task Force throughout the process. The four advisory boards represent various industries and stakeholders, and are as follows:

  • Fisheries, endangered species, and environmental impacts advisory board, chaired by the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Services, or designee.
  • Workforce, economic development, and supply chain advisory board, chaired by the commissioner of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs, or designee.
  • Existing offshore industries advisory board, chaired by the executive director of the Pease Development Authority, or designee.
  • Siting, transmission, and infrastructure advisory board, chaired by the director of the Office of Strategic Initiatives, or designee.

Each Advisory board will include five members, representing relevant stakeholders, appointed by the chairperson. Advisory boards may establish working groups to further facilitate discussion. All meetings will be open to the public, and each advisory board will report updates to the New Hampshire members of the BOEM Task Force quarterly and in advance of formal BOEM Task Force meetings.

Additionally, the executive order also instructs the Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI), the Department of Environmental Services (DES), and the Department of Business and Economic Affairs (BEA) to jointly study and report on:

  • The historical and forward-looking greenhouse gas reduction potential of offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine at varying levels of system installations.
  • New Hampshire’s existing port infrastructure, coastal transmission infrastructure, and opportunities for New Hampshire to attract offshore wind supply chain operations to New Hampshire.

These reports will be completed no later than January 2021 and will be submitted to the Governor, Speaker of the House, Senate President, Public Utilities Commission and the chairs of the relevant committees of the General Court.