The U.S. Department of the Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced it will hold a competitive lease auction for commercial wind energy on Aug. 19 for nearly 80,000 acres off the coast of Maryland.
According to the DOI, the Maryland announcement builds on its efforts to advance offshore wind energy along the Atlantic Coast.
The Maryland Wind Energy Area, located about 10 nautical miles off the coast of Ocean City, will be auctioned as two leases: the North Lease Area (encompassing 32,737 acres) and the South Lease AreaÂ (46,970 acres).
BOEM says the area available for auction is identical to the one announced in the proposed sale notice that was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 18, 2013.
According to analysis prepared by the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, if fully developed, the Maryland Wind Energy Area could support between 850 MW and nearly 1.5 GW of commercial wind generation.
Sixteen companies have been deemed qualified to participate in the auction for the Maryland Wind Energy Area:
- Apex Offshore Maryland LLC
- Bluewater Wind Maryland LLC
- Convalt Energy LLC
- Dominion Wind Development LLC
- EDF Renewable Energy Inc.
- Energy Management Inc.
- Fishermen's Energy LLC
- Green Sail Energy LLC
- Iberdrola Renewables Inc.
- Maryland Offshore Wind LLC
- Orisol Energy US Inc.
- RES America Developments Inc.
- SCS Maryland Energy LLC
- Sea Breeze Energy LLC
- Seawind Renewable Energy Corp. LLC
- US Wind Inc.
The sale is being conducted using an online bidding system. The two lease areas will be auctioned simultaneously. Under procedures outlined in the final sale notice, BOEM will consider monetary and non-monetary factors in determining the winner.
According to the DOI, an example of a non-monetary factor is a power purchase agreement or a Maryland Public Service Commission-issued Offshore Renewable Energy Certificate held by the bidder. The non-monetary phase of the auction will begin on Aug. 15, and the monetary phase on Aug. 19.
To date, BOEM has awarded five commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast: two non-competitive leases (Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound off Massachusetts and an area off Delaware) and three competitive leases (two offshore Massachusetts-Rhode Island and another offshore Virginia). BOEM is expected to hold additional competitive auctions for Wind Energy Areas offshore Massachusetts and New Jersey in the coming year.