USA: BOEM Schedules Offshore Wind Seminar in Rhode Island and Virginia
As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy development, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has scheduled public seminars in Rhode Island and Virginia to explain how offshore wind developers can participate in upcoming auctions for renewable energy development in federal waters offshore Rhode Island/Massachusetts and Virginia.
The lease sales, which will be held later this year and are the first-ever competitive auctions for renewable energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf, are major milestones in the Administration’s “Smart from the Start” wind energy program to facilitate responsible siting, leasing and construction of new projects.
The public seminars will introduce potential bidders and other stakeholders to the proposed auction formats, explain auction rules, and demonstrate the auction process through meaningful examples. There will also be an opportunity for comments and questions regarding the Proposed Sale Notices for each of the scheduled auctions.
On Nov. 30, 2012, the Department of Interior and BOEM announced the availability of Proposed Sale Notices for commercial wind leasing in two wind energy areas (WEAs) in federal waters – one offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and the other offshore Virginia.
The proposed lease area offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts covers approximately 164,750 acres and is located about 9.2 nautical miles south of the Rhode Island coastline. The area will be auctioned as two leases, referred to as the North Zone and South Zone. The North Zone lease will consist of about 97,500 acres and has the capacity to support more than 1,000 MW of wind generation. The South Zone lease will consist of about 67,250 acres and is capable of supporting a project of between 350 – 1,000 MW. Together, these zones could support enough electricity to power 700,000 homes.
The proposed lease area offshore Virginia, which will be auctioned as a single lease, totals approximately 112,800 acres about 23.5 nautical miles offshore southern Virginia. It is expected to support more than 2,000 MW of wind generation – also enough electricity to power 700,000 homes.
The Proposed Sale Notices were published in the Federal Register last month and provide detailed information about the areas available for leasing, proposed lease provisions and conditions, auction details, the lease form, criteria for evaluating competing bids, award procedures, appeal procedures and lease execution.
The 60-day comment period for the Notices ends on February 1, 2013. Comments received or postmarked by that date will be made available to the public and considered prior to the publication of the Final Sale Notices.
The time and date of each lease sale auction will be published via Final Sale Notices in the Federal Register at least 30 days prior to the respective sale dates. BOEM expects to publish the Final Sale Notices and conduct the auctions later this year.
Press release, January 15, 2013; Image: boem