Maryland issues offshore development call

UNITED STATES: Federal regulators are closer to seeking bids for the construction of wind energy projects off the coast of Maryland.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) has issued a call for ‘Requests for Interest’ (RFI) and public comment by January 10.

The offshore wind development would be in tracts of ocean nine to 23 miles from the coast of the mid-Atlantic state. The agency issued the notice on November 9.

"We hope our RFI generates significant interest and strong responses as we push forward to meet the [Obama] administration’s goal of stimulating offshore wind production," said the agency director, Michael Bromwich.

BOEMRE will use industry responses to gauge "specific interest" in the commercial development of offshore Maryland wind resources.

"If responses indicate that there is no competitive interest in this area, the agency may proceed with the noncompetitive lease process," it said. The agency is working with the Maryland Energy Administration.

The US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who oversees BOEMRE, has said that East Coast offshore wind that could generate enough electricity to replace most, if not all, the power from coal-fired power plants in the United States.

In June Maryland was one of 10 New England and Mid-Atlantic state that signed a memorandum with the Interior Department to create the Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy Consortium.