First US Offshore Wind Lease Auction Held

A huge milestone was reached in the US market this past week – the first ever lease auction was held for offshore wind development. The location is southwest of Martha’s Vineyard and southeast of the Block Island and is the product of arguably the most extensive marine use review in American history.

Tommy Beaudreau, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said in a conference call that offshore wind power is a key part of the Obama administration’s efforts to address climate change, which include the development of 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy on public lands and waters by 2020.

“This sale marks a really historic moment in the clean energy future of this country,” Beaudreau said.

For several years the States of Massachusetts and Rhode Island have worked together and with the US Federal Government to identify the appropriate location for offshore wind development. This will have the likely effect of avoiding much of the controversy that has surrounded the Cape Wind project for over a decade and should allow a more straightforward permitting and development process for the Developer.

The provisional winner of this weeks lease sale, which auctioned two leases for a Wind Energy Area of 164,750 acres offshore was Deepwater Wind New England, LLC. When built, these areas could generate enough combined energy to power more than one million homes.

The story has been covered around the world, but the Providence Journal has the most extensive write up here

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