US government opens up Atlantic coast to wind development

Posted at December 5, 2012 » By : » Categories : News » Comments Off on US government opens up Atlantic coast to wind development

As the New England state of Massachusetts celebrates the opening of its latest onshore wind farm, the US government has opened up two major sites on the Atlantic coast for offshore wind development.

The 28.5 MW Hoosac wind farm puts Massachusetts on course to surpass 100 MW of installed renewable energy, but will be dwarfed by plans for offshore development.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will be holding competitive lease sales for renewable energy development at two sites, one off the coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and the other off the Virginia shore, which could generate more than 4000 MW.

The Massachusetts/Rhode Island site covers around 164,750 acres and will be divided into North and South Zones, with the capacity to support over 1000 MW and 350-1000 MW respectively.

The site off the Virginia coast, meanwhile, will be offered as a single lease covering 112,800 acres and able to support the generation of more than 2000 MW.

The sales, which will be the first ever competitive sales for wind energy along the Atlantic coast, will be held next year as part of the Obama Administration’s ‘Smart from the Start’ programme that aims to streamline the process.

According to reports, European energy companies Iberdrola and EDF are interested in the sites, along with Apex Wind Energy, Deepwater Wind and Cape Wind’s parent company, Energy Management, which are involved in the current offshore wind projects.

“Wind energy along the Atlantic holds enormous potential, and we are moving closer to tapping into this massive domestic energy resource to create jobs, increase our energy security and strengthen our nation’s competitiveness in this new energy frontier,” says Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

“Holding competitive lease sales on the wind-rich east coast is ushering in a new chapter in America’s development of renewable energy,” adds Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes.

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Related stories:
US offshore wind farm Cape Wind secures power purchase deal (29-Nov)
Renewables makes up nearly half of new US generating capacity (24-Oct)
Deepwater Wind racing to build first US offshore wind farm (12-Oct)
US Cape Wind project clears latest hurdle (16-Aug)

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