The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold its second competitive lease sale for renewable energy on the US Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) on 4 Sept., offering nearly 112,800 acres offshore Virginia for commercial wind energy leasing. The nation’s first wind energy lease sale for an area offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts was held on 31 July.
The area available for auction is identical to the one announced in the Proposed Sale Notice that was published in the Federal Register on 3 Dec. 2012, for a 60-day public comment period.
Under the terms of the Final Sale Notice, the wind energy area offshore Virginia will be auctioned as a single lease. The area is located 23.5 nautical miles from the Virginia Beach coastline and has the potential to support more than 2,000 megawatts of wind generation. President Obama had earlier challenged Interior to re-double efforts on the renewable energy program by approving an additional 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy production on public lands and waters by 2020.
The area, composed of 19 full OCS blocks and 13 sub-blocks, was selected after work with the Commonwealth and stakeholders to avoid existing uses of the OCS offshore Virginia, including sensitive ecological habitat and shoals along the coast north of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, military training areas, marine vessel traffic, a dredge disposal site, and areas of concern specified by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility.
|Map of the Virginia wind energy area. Click to enlarge.|
In February 2011, former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu unveiled a coordinated strategic plan to accelerate the development of offshore wind resources. As part of the “Smart from the Start” program for expediting commercial-scale wind energy on the federal OCS, Interior has identified Wind Energy Areas to spur responsible development of this abundant renewable resource.