Virginia offshore wind lease sale set for Sept. 4
A 112,000-acre block off Virginia Beach’s shoreline will become the nation’s second largest lease sale for wind energy development.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced Monday that the auction for the 112,800 acres on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf will take place on Sept. 4. It will be sold as an entire block to one of eight companies that BOEM has determined are eligible to bid.
The first offshore wind energy lease in the country, for an area off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, is scheduled for July 31.
In Virginia, the lease area is located 23.5 nautical miles off the Virginia Beach coast. The area has the ability to support more than 2,000 megawatts of power, generating enough electricity to power 700,000 homes.
The area was determined after work with many stakeholders to avoid existing uses, including bsensitive ecological habitats and shoals in the Chesapeake Bay, military training areas, marine vessel traffic, a dredge disposal site and areas of concerns from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility.
The following companies have been selected as “legally, technically and financially” qualified to participate in the upcoming lease sale.
· Apex Virginia Offshore Wind LLC
· Virginia Electric and Power Company (Dominion Virginia Power)
· Energy Management Inc.
· EDF Renewable Development Inc.
· Fisherman’s Energy LLC
· IBERDROLA RENEWABLES Inc.
· Sea Breeze Energy LLC
· Orisol Energy U.S. Inc
The sale will be conducted using an online bidding system. BOEM will set an initial asking price for the lease area and increase that incrementally until there is only one bidder left.
“The gradual slope of the Outer Continental Shelf and consistent offshore wind speeds make this a natural geographic location for the commercial utilization of offshore wind resources,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement. “At the same time, Virginia enjoys a robust commercial ship building industry poised to become the center of construction for the component parts needed to build the specialized ships, turbines and towers necessary for these upcoming leases, and potentially for additional future wind leases on the east coast. This will result in millions of dollars in industrial activity and the creation of many new high-skilled jobs in our state.”