Interior Initiates Process For Bluewater Wind Offshore Lease

The Department of the Interior is initiating the process to offer the first commercial wind lease under the "Smart from the Start" Atlantic Offshore Wind program, off the coast of Delaware.

The decision follows a determination that there is no competitive interest for commercial wind energy development in this area of the Outer Continental Shelf, precluding the need for competitive bidding.

"This is a significant milestone for our nation’s energy future," said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, "allowing Interior officials to move toward a non-competitive lease agreement with NRG Bluewater Wind Delaware for potential offshore wind development."

Salazar added that several steps remain before a lease can be issued, including environmental reviews and consultation with other federal, state, local and tribal organizations. Additionally, once a lease is issued, the developer will be required to submit a detailed construction and operation plan that will be subject to further environmental review and public comment before any final decision is made on a proposed project.

Bluewater Wind Delaware, LLC has proposed a phased wind turbine
development 11 miles east of Dewey Beach, Delaware. The company has an
agreement with Delaware officials to sell offshore power to the state’s
largest utility, Delmarva.

To ascertain competitive interest, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE)
published a Request for Interest (RFI) in April 2010 in the Federal Register regarding
wind energy development in federal waters offshore Delaware. Bluewater Wind Delaware, LLC was the only qualified organization that responded to the RFI.

BOEMRE then published a second
Federal Register notice in January 2011 to determine whether competitive
interest existed for the area proposed by Bluewater Wind. The bureau
did not receive any additional expressions of interest. 

"It’s encouraging to see the federal government putting some of its efforts into moving offshore wind energy forward," said Delaware Governor Jack Markell. "The decision recognizes the longer-term economic and environmental benefits the NRG Bluewater Wind project could provide Delaware and that the offshore wind industry could provide the nation."

BOEMRE will soon publish the decision to move forward with the noncompetitive leasing process in the Federal Register as a Determination of No Competitive Interest (DNCI), as required by offshore renewable energy regulations.

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Read Reuters coverate at the link below.

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