DOI Announces Lease for Delaware Offshore Wind
Clean Edge News
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau recently 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 which is aimed 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.
The lease grants NRG Bluewater Wind Delaware 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. In its original project nomination, NRG Bluewater proposed a 450-megawatt project 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.