The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has agreed to lease 96,430 acres of federal waters about 11 miles off the Delaware coast for the development of a proposed 450-megawatt wind energy project. The lease is the first along the Atlantic Coast under a new Department program.
According to the press release:
The lease grants NRG Bluewater Wind Delaware LLC the exclusive right to submit one or more plans to BOEM to conduct activities in support of wind energy development in the lease area.
The size of the project could change after the company completes its initial studies and submits its construction plan.
NRG Bluewater is a subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc. (NYSE: NRG) and the company announced last December that it was putting “active development of offshore wind projects on hold for the near term.” NRG said at the time that it had been unable to find an investment partner for the project and that it would terminate its 200-megawatt power purchase agreement with Delmarva Power & Light Co.
At the time it announced its decision, NRG cited the expiration of federal production tax credits at the end of 2012 as another of the reasons for stopping development of the project. Whether or not the lame-duck Congress will re-institute federal support for wind power development, both on- and offshore remains to be seen. But nobody is counting on it.