U.S. Government Approves 450 MW Offshore Wind Energy Lease

Reader Contribution by Press Release
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The following press release was provided Nov. 7, 2012, by theU.S. Department of the Interior.

WASHINGTON–As part of the Obama Administration’s
all-of-the-above strategy to expand safe and responsible domestic energy
production, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy
Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau today announced that BOEM has
reached agreement on a lease for commercial wind energy development in federal
waters that covers 96,430 acres approximately 11 nautical miles off the coast
of Delaware.

This is the first lease completed under
Interior’s “
Smart from the Start” approach to facilitate
environmentally responsible offshore wind development along the Atlantic Outer
Continental Shelf (OCS) by identifying wind energy areas in a coordinated,
focused approach with extensive environmental analysis, public review and
large-scale planning.

“Delaware
has remarkable offshore wind potential, and harnessing this clean, domestic
energy resource will create jobs, increase our energy security and strengthen
our nation’s economic competitiveness,” said Salazar. “The Administration has
implemented a true all of the above approach to American energy, with renewable
energy from sources like wind and solar doubling since the President took
office, while at the same time domestic oil and gas production has increased
each year, with domestic oil production currently higher than any time in
almost a decade and domestic natural gas production at its highest level ever.”

The lease grants NRG Bluewater Wind Delaware
LLC the exclusive right to submit one or more plans to BOEM to conduct
activities in support of wind energy development in the lease area. The company
may submit a Site Assessment Plan (SAP) with a proposal to conduct site
assessment activities, such as the installation of a meteorological

tower or
meteorological buoy, and/or submit a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) to
propose construction of the actual wind facility and cabling to shore.

“This lease is the result of many months of
hard work and collaboration among BOEM, our Federal partners, the Delaware
Renewable Energy Task Force, and other stakeholders,” said Beaudreau. “I
congratulate NRG Bluewater Wind and we look forward to their progress in
standing up offshore wind energy generation under this lease.”

In its original project nomination, NRG Bluewater
proposed a 450-megawatt project for offshore Delaware, with estimates that the project
could generate enough power to supply electricity for over 100,000 homes. This
estimate could change after NRG undergoes additional planning and survey work,
and submits its COP to BOEM, which will assess the potential plans based on
environmental, technical and other factors before granting approval for
construction.

The lease area, which is composed of 11 full
OCS blocks and 16 partial blocks, has been located to avoid existing uses of
the OCS offshore Delaware, including but not
limited to major shipping lanes into and out of Delaware
Bay, a proposed vessel anchorage ground and a munitions disposal
area.

On public lands and waters, Interior recently
eclipsed a major milestone by meeting the President’s goal of authorizing
10,000 megawatts of large-scale renewable power by the end of the year. Since
2009, Interior has authorized 33 renewable energy projects, including 18
utility-scale solar facilities, 7 wind farms and 8 geothermal plants, with
associated transmission corridors and infrastructure that will enable the
projects to connect to established power grids.

When built, these projects will provide enough
electricity to power more than 3.5 million homes, and support an estimated
13,000 construction and operations jobs according to project developers.

Today’s action is in line with the President’s
direction to continue to expand domestic energy production, safely and
responsibly. Since President Obama took office, domestic oil and gas production
has increased each year, with domestic oil production at an eight-year high,
natural gas production at an all-time high, and foreign oil imports now
accounting for less than 50 percent of the oil consumed in America – the lowest
level since 1995.

A map of the lease area can be found on the
BOEM website.

For more information “Smart
from the Start” visit
BOEM’s Renewable Energy program website.

Photo by Fotolia/Yauhen Suslo