Big news keeps rolling in for offshore wind this summer! Yesterday, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held its third competitive lease sale off the coast of Maryland for an area that comprises 80,000 acres of the outer Continental Shelf. Sixteen offshore wind developers competed to win the rights to develop this clean energy in two sections in the North Lease Area (32,737 acres) and the South Lease Area (46,970 acres), which are both at least ten miles off the coast of Ocean City. After 19 rounds of bidding, U.S. Wind, Inc., a subsidiary of Italian-owned company, Renexia, has won the right to develop both lease areas off the coast of Maryland, paying a total of $8.7 million. These two areas have the potential to produce about 1,450 megawatts (MW) of energy, which is enough electricity to power roughly 300,000 homes.
Oceana’s ocean advocate, Nancy Sopko, lauded the sale:
This lease sale is further proof that Governor O’Malley and the Obama administration remain committed to developing a strong offshore wind industry in the United States. While the government continues to move forward with the leasing process, the biggest barrier to clean and renewable offshore wind energy development is the investment environment. To get offshore wind projects built, we must stimulate investment in the industry. Oceana calls on Congress to extend the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for offshore wind as soon as possible so that we can finally begin to reap all of the environmental and economic benefits of this clean, domestic energy supply.
Yesterday’s lease sale builds on the momentum from last week when BOEM identified three wind energy areas off the coast of North Carolina. These newly-identified areas cover a total of 300,000 acres divided into three separate locations: “Kitty Hawk” (122,405 acres), located near the Outer Banks, and two locations close to Wilmington, “Wilmington East” (276,718 acres) and “Wilmington West” (51,595 acres). North Carolina’s wind energy areas are expected to produce an impressive 6,300 MW of clean energy, which is enough electricity to power over 2 million homes.
“Offshore wind provides massive clean energy and job-creating potential for the U.S. and will also help us address the growing problem of climate change,” Sopko continued. “Oceana hopes that the Obama administration will remember its commitment to offshore wind as it develops its next five-year plan for offshore oil and gas development. We need offshore wind, not oil, in the Atlantic Ocean.”