Offshore Wind Leases Go On Sale

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The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced the first ever competitive lease sale of two offshore wind energy areas in federal waters. A date for the sale has not been set yet, but it is expected to take place in 2013.

The areas included in the sale are offshore of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Virgina and comprise a total of 277,550 acres. The BOEM estimates that the two areas are capable of supporting 4,000 megawatts wind generation, or enough to power 1.4 million homes.

The area offshore of Rhode Island and Massachusetts will be auctioned in two parcels, a North Zone of about 97,500 acres and a South Zone of about 67,250 acres located about 9.2 nautical miles south of the Rhode Island coast. The lease area offshore of Virginia is a single parcel of about 112,800 acres located about 23.5 nautical miles east of southern Virginia.

Public comments will be accepted until February 1st.

The BOEM did not speculate on possible bidders for the leases, but it is not unreasonable to expect at least one bid from a Chinese firm. China is the world leader installed wind generation capacity having passed the U.S. last year.

Paul Ausick

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