Talk about movement for clean energy: On the same day we hear that the DOE is fast-tracking four offshore wind projects on the Atlantic coast, we also hear thatdeepwater drilling permits are being withheld until oil companies can prove they know how to prevent major disasters like last summer’s BP oil spill.
According to the Associated Press:
Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, made the disclosure in a letter he sent to executives at Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Helix Energy Solutions Group.
Bromwich asked the companies when the containment system they and others are working on will be ready. He also wanted to know how the companies will demonstrate that the equipment will be readily and immediately available to other firms in the event of a blowout.
“These systems are critical to moving forward with safe and responsible deepwater drilling activities,” Bromwich wrote.
If there is any silver lining to the Gulf oil disaster of 2010, it does seem that the ensuing restrictions are spurring oil companies to more responsible action. Exxon Mobil says it’s working on a system that would contain an oil leak in up to 10,000 feet of water – twice as deep as the Deepwater Horizon rig was drilling last summer when it exploded and cause the now infamous BP spill.
Of course, only time will tell. For now, it’s a positive step that the Obama administration seems to be taking concrete action toward achieving its 80 percent clean energy by 2035 goal.