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August Offshore Wind Lease Sale Scheduled for Two Central Atlantic Areas

offshore wind farm
Next U.S. offshore wind auctions are scheduled for August for two Central Atlantic sites (file photo)

Published Jun 28, 2024 3:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

The Department of the Interior announced today it would hold an offshore wind energy lease sale in the Central Atlantic. The areas are to be auctioned on August 14, 2024, by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management with an indication that they could provide power for up to 2.2 million homes. It is the latest in a series of accelerated steps by the Biden Administration to move forward with its agenda for clean energy.

“We are taking action to jumpstart America’s offshore wind energy industry and using American innovation to deliver reliable, affordable power to homes and businesses, while also addressing the climate crisis,” said Secretary Deb Haaland.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management anticipates strong interest in the auction noting that 17 companies qualified to participate in the August sale.  Among the companies are Avangrid, BP, Corio, Equinor, RWE, Shell New Energies, TotalEnergies, Virginia Electric and Power Company, and multiple sole purpose entities that are likely development partnerships.
 
The region has already been opened up for development by Dominion Energy which began offshore work this spring on its Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project. Due for completion in 2026, it is slated for a capacity of 2.6 GW, making it the largest offshore wind farm so far approved for the U.S. Dominion Energy has indicated its interest in additional projects.

 

Draft map of the region from December 2023 showing the position of the proposed leases (BOEM)

 

The Final Sale Notice for the auctions will be published in the Federal Register on Monday, July 1. It features two areas that combined have the capacity for approximately 6.3 GW according to the Department of the Interior.

One of the areas to be included in the August auction is offshore the Commonwealth of Virginia. The lease area consists of 101,443 acres and is approximately 26 nautical miles from Delaware Bay. The second area consists of 176,505 acres and is approximately 35 nautical miles from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. BOEM highlights that it partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to develop a comprehensive, ecosystem-based ocean planning model that assisted in the selection of the final lease areas.

BOEM included several lease stipulations and bidding credit provisions in the auction process. Bidders will be able to earn credits if they commit to supporting workforce training programs, establish or contribute to a fisheries compensatory mitigation fund, or if it make every reasonable effort to enter into a project labor agreement covering the construction stage of any project for the lease areas

The Department of the Interior reports that it has approved the nation’s first eight commercial-scale offshore wind energy projects in federal waters. BOEM also held four offshore wind lease sales, including offshore New York, New Jersey, and the Carolinas, and the first-ever sales offshore the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts. The Department recently announced a schedule of up to 12 additional lease sales through 2028 and agreed with Maryland to evaluate additional areas that could become additional wind energy areas in the Central Atlantic region.