US Department of the Interior Natural Resources Revenue Data

How it works /

Renewables: Offshore

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established the Outer Continental Shelf Renewable Energy Program and created guidelines that inform BOEM's regulations for offshore wind, ocean wave, and ocean current energy.

So far, the majority of renewable energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf has been wind energy. For each state with the potential to harness wind energy, BOEM convenes a unique intergovernmental task force of federal agencies, state agencies, and tribes. This taskforce helps guide the project from planning through decommissioning. Taskforce meetings are open to the public.

Managed and regulated by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

The Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) manages monetary transactions.

Did you know?

To date, BOEM has issued over a dozen commercial wind energy leases on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf, including those offshore of Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina. BOEM is in the planning stages for additional offshore areas in South Carolina, California, and Hawaii.

  • 1


    The planning and analysis phase identifies suitable areas for wind energy leasing consideration through collaborative, consultative, and analytical processes that engage stakeholders and government agencies. This is the phase when BOEM conducts environmental compliance reviews and consultations with tribes, states, and natural resource agencies.

  • 2


    BOEM grants offshore wind energy leases through either a competitive or an noncompetitive process. In a competitive bid, more than one party is interested in acquiring the lease for specific waters. BOEM will award the lease to the highest bidder above the fair market return, a minimum bid to provide the public a fair price. Once BOEM accepts a competitive bid, the lease holder must pay the bonus to ONRR. In an noncompetitive bid, a single party negotiates the lease amount with BOEM and is required to pay an Acquisition Fee.

  • 3


    Companies explore leased waters to locate suitable sites for constructing renewable energy infrastructure. During this phase, the lease holder also conducts surveys and studies of the site (e.g., avian, marine mammal, archeological). The lease holder must submit a Site Assessment Plan, which contains a detailed proposal for the construction of a meteorological tower and/or the installation of meteorological buoys. BOEM may approve, approve with modification, or disapprove of the Site Assessment Plan.

    If BOEM approves the plan, the lease holder can begin the site assessment activities. During the exploration period, companies pay rent to ONRR.

  • 4


    To begin development and production, the lease holder submits a Construction and Operations Plan to BOEM. BOEM conducts environmental and technical reviews and decides whether to approve, approve with modification, or disapprove the plan.

    During this period, ONRR collects annual rent from the lease holder. Once the wind facility produces energy, ONRR also collects an Operating Fee.

    Prior to the end of the lease term, the developer must submit a plan to decommission the facilities.

  • Learn more

Revenue collected by ONRR


The amount the highest bidder paid for a natural resource lease.


$3.00 per acre


$0.25 per acre
acquisition fee
operating fee

Operating fees sometimes vary if they are otherwise specified or waived

Get involved

Participate in the offshore renewables leasing process.

Coastal States

BOEM has task forces in 16 coastal states to coordinate public engagement. Attend a meeting near you.


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