U.S. Announces Offshore Wind Auctions

file photo
file photo

By The Maritime Executive 10-21-2018 07:48:27

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has announced three major developments in the nation's offshore wind energy industry development:

1. a wind auction in federal waters off the coast of Massachusetts;
2. the environmental review of a proposed wind project offshore Rhode Island; and
3. the next steps to a first-ever wind auction in federal waters off of California.

“I'm very bullish on offshore wind, and harnessing this renewable resource is a big part of the Trump Administration's made in America energy strategy,” said Zinke.

NOIA President Randall Luthi says Zinke is bringing the future vision of U.S. offshore wind to reality.  “NOIA has worked with this Administration to encourage and support efforts to bring increased and more diverse offshore energy to the American people. We are gratified that the announcements made by Secretary Zinke mark significant milestones in the race for American energy security. Coupled with the possibility of increased offshore oil and natural gas in the future, this is truly good news for U.S. workers and consumers.”

Wind Auction Offshore Massachusetts

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold the next offshore wind auction – to include nearly 390,000 acres offshore Massachusetts – on December 13, 2018. 19 companies have qualified to participate in the auction for the Massachusetts Wind Energy Area, demonstrating continued strong commercial interest in the U.S. offshore wind market, says Zinke.

“The Massachusetts sale has a lot of potential for both energy and economic activity,” he said. “If fully developed, the wind auction could support approximately 4.1 gigawatts of power to supply nearly 1.5 million homes. This is just one example of the importance of fostering wind energy as a new American industry.”

Environmental Review of Wind Project Offshore Rhode Island

BOEM has published a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the construction and operation of the South Fork Wind Project offshore Rhode Island. If approved, the plan would allow construction and operation of up to 15 turbines that connect via a transmission cable to a grid in East Hampton, New York. The project is approximately 19 miles southeast of Block Island. 

Call for Information and Nominations Offshore California

In what could result in the first West Coast offshore wind auction, BOEM has published a call for nominations to identify companies interested in commercial wind energy leases within three proposed areas off central and northern California. This is the first step towards offering a location for wind leasing. The three Call Areas include 85 whole Outer Continental Shelf blocks and 573 partial blocks and together comprise approximately 1,073 square miles (687,823 acres).  

Currently, through BOEM, the Department of the Interior manages 12 active commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic covering nearly 1.4 million acres.