Offshore energy projects run up against feds

HONOLULU — Looking for retail space in Waikiki? It could cost you $300 per square foot a year.

Ocean floor space between Maui and O‘ahu? You can lease an entire acre for $3 a year. Your Realtor? Uncle Sam.

For the first time, the federal government will charge companies in Hawai‘i for placing renewable energy projects in its waters, which extend from three miles to 200 miles offshore.

Lease and royalty payments are typically associated with oil and natural gas companies operating in the outer continental shelf off the Mainland, such as the Gulf of Mexico or offshore of California or Alaska. In the last 50 years, the federal government has collected $156 billion in payments nationwide, according to a report from the Interior Department.

But now, the federal government is stepping in when it comes to renewable energy projects, too — a result of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, passed under former President George Bush.

Read the whole story at Civil Beat.

• Honolulu Civil Beat is an online news source serving Hawai‘i. Read more at www.civilbeat.com.

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