As part of President Obama's comprehensive Climate Action Plan to create American jobs, develop domestic clean energy resources and cut carbon pollution, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank today announced that nearly 80,000 acres offshore Maryland will be offered for commercial wind energy development in an August 19, 2014 competitive lease sale.
"Maryland is a leading force for building a clean and sustainable energy future," said Jewell. "Thanks to Governor O'Malley's leadership and significant stakeholder involvement through BOEM's Maryland Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, we have reached another milestone as we strengthen our nation's foothold in the new energy frontier."
Today's announcement builds on Interior's work to stand up a sustainable offshore wind program through its "Smart from the Start' wind energy initiative for the Atlantic Coast. 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). Competitive lease sales have generated more than $5 million in high bids for more than 277,500 acres in federal waters. BOEM is expected to hold additional competitive auctions for Wind Energy Areas offshore Massachusetts and New Jersey in the coming year.
Sixteen companies have qualified to participate in the auction for the Maryland Wind Energy Area. 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 and 1450 megawatts of commercial wind generation, enough electricity to power 300,000 homes.
"To combat climate change, we must develop cleaner, renewable sources of energy -- and today's announcement is a tremendous step forward for the U.S. offshore wind industry," said Governor O'Malley. "As we continue our work to drive up renewable energy generation in Maryland by 20 percent by 2022, the O'Malley-Brown Administration is committed to continuing to work with our federal partners to do everything we can to meet this goal and create a stronger, more sustainable future for generations to come."
Under the terms of the Final Sale Notice (FSN), which will be published in the Federal Register on July 3, the Maryland Wind Energy Area will be auctioned as two leases, referred to as the North Lease Area (32,737 acres) and the South Lease Area (46,970 acres). The Wind Energy Area is located about 10 nautical miles off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. The area available for auction is identical to the one announced in the Proposed Sale Notice that BOEM published in the Federal Register on Dec. 18, 2013, which was followed by a 60-day public comment period.
"BOEM and the Task Force members have worked collaboratively to develop a wind energy area that has exceptional wind energy potential. We're pleased to see such strong commercial interest in the upcoming auction, and we look forward to overseeing a fair and competitive leasing process," said BOEM Acting Director Cruickshank. "We will continue to work closely with the Task Force and the public on any future wind energy projects proposed by the winners of the lease sale."
The following 16 companies underwent a rigorous review process and BOEM has determined that they are legally, technically and financially qualified to participate in the upcoming lease sale:
* 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 Corporation, LLC
* US Wind, Inc.
The Final Sale Notice contains specific information about deadlines and milestones for bidders, the area available for leasing, lease provisions and conditions, auction details, criteria for evaluating bids, award procedures, lease execution and other information.
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 nonmonetary factors in determining the winner. An example of a nonmonetary factor is a Power Purchase Agreement or a Maryland Public Service Commission-issued Offshore Renewable Energy Certificate held by the bidder. The nonmonetary phase of the auction will begin on Aug. 15, and the monetary phase on Aug. 19 of this year.