US readies for second-ever federal offshore wind auction

Washington (Platts)--3 Sep 2013 503 pm EDT/2103 GMT

The US Department of the Interior this week will host its second-ever competitive auction for offshore wind development in federal waters.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management auction, set to start Wednesday, will be for 112,800 acres offshore Virginia for wind energy leasing. The area, roughly 23.5 nautical miles from the Virginia Beach coastline, will be auctioned as a single lease. The area has the potential to support more than 2,000 MW of wind generation, according to BOEM.

BOEM has determined that eight companies are eligible to participate in the auction.

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On July 31, Rhode Island-based Deepwater Wind won the first-ever competitive auction for offshore wind development in federal waters when it won the rights to develop an area of nearly 165,000 acres about nine nautical miles off Rhode Island. Deepwater beat two other companies in that 11-round auction with a $3.8 million winning bid.

The area will be used to develop the Deepwater Wind Energy Center, a utility-scale wind farm of up to 200 turbines that can help supply power to an area running from Long Island, New York, to southeastern New England, the company said. The wind farm will have a capacity of up to 1,000 MW, the company said.

But Deepwater will not be participating in this week's auction. According to Tracey Moriarty, a BOEM spokesperson, the eight companies eligible to participate in the auction are: Apex Virginia Offshore Wind, Virginia Electric and Power Company, Energy Management, EDF Renewable Development, Fisherman's Energy, Iberdrola Renewables, Sea Breeze Energy and Orisol Energy.

BOEM Director Tommy Beaudreau has said these eight companies met an agency review measuring legal, technical and financial qualifications to participate in the auction.

--Brian Scheid,

--Edited by Valarie Jackson,

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