Full Steam Ahead on US Offshore Wind This Year

The US is finally moving ahead on offshore wind – it looks like some significant leases will be issued this year off the mid-Atlantic Coast.

After passing key environmental reviews, the The US Department of Interior (DOI) announced it will hold auctions and issue leases for offshore wind this year.

Offshore wind leases will be issued off the coast of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and New Jersey.

"Offshore wind holds incredible potential for our country, and we’re moving full-steam ahead to accelerate the siting, leasing and construction of new projects," says DOI Secretary Ken Salazar.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) conducted an environmental assessment under the National Environmental
Policy Act
(NEPA) and found there would be no significant
environmental and socioeconomic impacts from issuing wind energy leases in designated Outer Continental Shelf areas off the mid-Atlantic Coast.

The DOI’s "Smart from the Start" offshore wind initiative, launched in 2010, identified priority sites that have the most wind potential with the least environmental impact.

"We considered public input and conducted a thorough analysis to ensure future projects are sited in the right places, where the wind energy potential is significant and where environmental effects and conflicts with other uses can be minimized and managed," says BOEM Director Tom Beaudreau.

DOI has also finalized a simple lease form that will facilitate the process.

"Today’s announcement opens up the ‘sweet spots’ off the mid-Atlantic coast for development of our nation’s remarkable offshore wind resource," says DOI Deputy Secretary David Hayes.

Today, BOEM published Calls for Information and Nominations for Maryland and Virginia to solicit lease nominations from industry.

Plans for a Mid-Atlantic transmission system are underway. Google joined other investors to finance the Atlantic Wind Connection, which will be able to connect 6,000 MW of offshore wind turbines to the grid. Construction will begin in 2013.

Read about the Department of Energy and Department of the Interior coordinated strategic plan to accelerate offshore wind development:

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