The first steps have been made toward issuing a lease that would authorize the testing of equipment designed to use the Gulf Stream current offshore of Florida to generate electricity on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has announced that it has received its first lease application from Florida Atlantic University. The university plans to anchor turbines offshore of Ft. Lauderdale in order to test the feasibility of the eventual deployment of 23-foot diameter turbines that could each provide up to 100 kilowatts of power, according to a report on examiner.com. The turbines would be anchored to the bottom. The continuous flow of the Gulf Stream would allow 24-hour power generation, in contrast to other renewable sources like wind and solar. It has been estimated that up to one-third of Florida’s electrical needs could be met using Gulf Stream power.
The test will examine the effects on the environment of the Gulf Stream, including impacts on wildlife and other maritime activities, like commercial fishing. “This is the first lease application BOEMRE has received to test ocean current equipment on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich. “Before a leasing decision is made, we are preparing an environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act and are providing an opportunity for public input concerning these activities.”