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    TotalEnergies Renewables Issues Public Comment to DOT

    September 28, 2023 - Targeted News Service


      TARGETED NEWS SERVICE (founded 2004) features non-partisan 'edited journalism' news briefs and information for news organizations, public policy groups and individuals; as well as 'gathered' public policy information, including news releases, reports, speeches. For more information contact MYRON STRUCK, editor,, Springfield, Virginia; 703/304-1897;

      WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 -- David Foulon, Managing Director, Offshore Wind U.S., TotalEnergies Renewables USA, Houston, Texas, has issued a public comment to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The comment was written on Sept. 25, 2023, and posted on Sept. 26, 2023.

      The comment, on Docket No. DOT-OST-2023-0117, was sent to Brian J. Tetreault, Acting Director, Committee on the Marine Transportation System.

      * * *

      TotalEnergies Renewables USA, LLC ("TotalEnergies") applauds the progress achieved by the U.S. Committee on the Maritime Transportation System ("Committee") to create a robust process for the evaluation and mitigation of risks associated with underwater Munitions and Explosives of Concern ("MEC"). The Committee's progress is critical to advancing the offshore wind industry's ability to partner with federal agencies to manage MEC-related incidents.

      Total Energies is part of TotalEnergies SE, a global multi-energy company developing a portfolio of offshore wind projects with a worldwide capacity of more than 13 GW and growing. As part of its ambition to reach net zero by 2050, TotalEnergies SE will continue to expand its renewables business to reach 100GW of power generation by 2030 with the objective of being among the world's top five producers of green electricity. Indirectly owned subsidiaries of TotalEnergies are the leaseholders of U.S. federal offshore wind lease areas OCS-A 0538 (Attentive Energy LLC) in the New York and New Jersey Bight and OCS-A 0545 in Carolina Long Bay (TotalEnergies Carolina Long Bay, LLC).

      With the dedicated support of the Biden administration and its ambitious national goal of 30GW of offshore wind by 2030, the U.S. offshore wind industry continues its rapid expansion. With multiple projects in development on the East Coast and more on the way, MEC-related incidents are inevitable. TotalEnergies is committed to working with government agencies, other offshore wind developers, and contractors to prepare for, and respond to, health and safety concerns. As MEC-related incidents arise in tandem with development, the need for a clear, repeatable communication and decision-making process between offshore wind developers and federal regulatory agencies is clear, and we appreciate the Committee's efforts to lead this discussion.

      Specifically, TotalEnergies values the Committee's proposed guidance ("guidance") related to pre-survey operations and submission of a Munitions Response Plan ("MRP"). The MRP will be a valuable tool in aligning internal priorities during project development and will improve developers' ability to efficiently communicate with relevant federal stakeholders. In line with government and industry's shared interest in efficient processes, TotalEnergies encourages the Committee to consider whether designating a single federal point of contact to act as a clearinghouse to distribute initial notifications and MRPs to all relevant agencies is more efficient and effective for all stakeholders.

      While the Committee's guidance seeks to organize a repeatable process to facilitate information sharing and decision-making when MEC are discovered during "seabed disturbing activities", the Committee should further clarify which, if any, federal agency has, or will be granted, authority to finalize decisions related to MEC disposition. The guidance appears contradictory in that no agency is clearly designated as the final arbiter of decisions although the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement ("BSEE") may issue administrative orders including work stoppages.

      TotalEnergies prioritizes health and safety, and to that end we appreciate the roundtable approach the Maritime Operational Threat Response ("MOTR")process introduces. Drawing on the expertise of various vested federal stakeholders will certainly improve the thoroughness of deliberations. However, in addition to where decisionmaking authority rests, TotalEnergies remains unclear on what considerations will be evaluated during the MOTR process and what, if any, mechanisms exist for risk mitigation and resolution. Understanding potential outcomes is particularly important given that these MEC discoveries are most likely to occur when each project's offshore vessel costs are at their highest. TotalEnergies is interested in better understanding what authorities exist, what alternative actions federal authorities may impose, and what options exist to shorten the MOTR timeline to, preferably, under 24 hours. For example, in the event an MEC is discovered during construction, will the U.S. Coast Guard enact a safety zone and deploy resources to the site to protect mariners? Are there time limits on how long a safety zone may be enacted or U.S. Coast Guard resources may be deployed?

      The guidance's references to decision-making processes that exceed 24 hours for incidents occurring during "seabed disturbing activities" run counter to the MOTR concept, which is designed to achieve "quick and decisive" action in assessing maritime threats. TotalEnergies desires closer alignment to MOTR's original concept, especially considering that prior to any unexpected MEC discovery each offshore wind developer will have completed extensive survey work to locate and identify MEC, mitigated known MEC (lifting and shifting), and retained MEC disposition and removal companies to respond during "seabed disturbing activities". The Committee's introduction of the MRP is a positive step that should aid in expediting resolution of previously undiscovered MEC.

      Finally, TotalEnergies encourages the Committee to consider what further applicability may be possible regarding state waters. Offshore wind development requires interconnections on land that necessitate subsea cable laying through state waters. To the extent the Committee's guidance can help inform state processes, bring federal expertise to bear on MEC incidents, and establish a consistent MEC assessment and remediation framework from state-to-state, TotalEnergies sees value in doing so.

      TotalEnergies appreciates the opportunity to provide feedback on this topic central to the safe and efficient development of the U.S. offshore wind industry and encourages the Committee to maintain an open dialogue among offshore wind developers and federal decision-makers. Cooperation and collaboration, particularly to refine the existing guidance, would benefit from a government-industry workshop among key stakeholders to work through hypothetical scenarios before additional offshore wind projects begin construction. TotalEnergies stands ready to continue discussions and provide additional feedback towards achieving our shared goals. If you have any questions or would like further background and details regarding our comments, please do not hesitate to contact our Marine Affairs Manager, Brian LeFebvre, at or 202-997-8074.

      David Foulon

      Managing Director

      Offshore Wind US

      * * *

      Original text here:

      TARGETED NEWS SERVICE (founded 2004) features non-partisan 'edited journalism' news briefs and information for news organizations, public policy groups and individuals; as well as 'gathered' public policy information, including news releases, reports, speeches. For more information contact MYRON STRUCK, editor,, Springfield, Virginia; 703/304-1897;


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