Three development leases with a combined capacity of 4GW are to be awarded, with full proposed sale notices published today.
The announcement has come at a time when the US is experiencing "record domestic oil and gas development", acknowledged secretary of the interior Ken Salazar.
Competitive bidding for outer continental shelf (OCS) sites will focus on a 112,799 acre (456 square kilometre) zone off Virginia, judged to be appropriate for more than 2GW in capacity. A single lease will be awarded for this area.
A second 164,750 acre zone off Rhode Island and Massachusetts is to be divided into north and south sections. The north section has been earmarked for more than 1GW, while the south section is judged to be capable of supporting a project of 350-1,000MW.
Environomental review completed
In July, the DoI announced completion of a preliminary environmental assessment paving the way for the auctioning of commercial leases for wind developments in federal waters off the north-eastern United States.
The Rhode Island/ Massachusetts wind energy area comprises some 164,750 acres (667 square kilometres), south of Martha’s Vineyard and east of Block Island.
Developers express interest
Last year, eight companies said they were interested in bidding for offshore wind development leases within the Rhode Island/ Massachusetts wind energy area. They are:
- Deepwater Wind New England
- Energy Management
- Fishermen’s Energy
- Iberdrola Renewables
- Mainstream Renewable Power
- Neptune Wind
- US Wind