US Department of the Interior auctions 80,000 acres for offshore wind energy development in Maryland

The provisional winner of the lease sale, held by the Bureua of Ocean Energy Management, is US Wind Inc. When fully built, this wind energy area could generate enough energy to power about 300,000 homes. “Today’s results are a major achievement and reflect industry confidence as we strengthen our nation’s foothold in this new energy frontier,” 1 said Department of Interiros Secretary Sally Jewell. “I want to thank Governor Martin O’Malley, his team and members of BOEM’s Maryland Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force for all of their hard work and leadership leading up to today’s successful auction. The collaboration and thoughtful planning that went into this lease sale will serve as a model as we continue up and down the coast in our efforts to ensure wind energy is developed in the right way and in the right places.” BOEM auctioned the Maryland Wind Energy Area as two leases, referred to as the North Lease Area (32,737 acres) and the South Lease Area (46,970 acres). US Wind Inc. submitted the provisionally winning bid for both lease areas.  The announcement builds on the Department of teh Interior’s work to stand up a sustainable offshore wind program for the Atlantic Coast. Prior to this latest auction, BOEM has awarded five commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast: 

  • Two noncompetitively issued leases (one for the proposed Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound offshore Massachusetts and one offshore Delaware);
  • Three competitively-issued leases (two offshore Rhode Island-Massachusetts and another offshore Virginia). 

The competitive lease sales generated more than $5 million in winning bids for 277,500-plus 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. Efforts to spur responsible development of offshore wind energy are part of a series of Obama Administration actions to increase renewable energy both offshore and onshore by improving coordination with state, local and federal partners. The Maryland Renewable Energy Task Force has been a leading agent in intergovernmental collaboration for wind energy development offshore Maryland.  

REFERENCES 1. Since 2009, Interior has approved 52 wind, solar and geothermal utility-scale projects on public or tribal lands, including associated transmission corridors and infrastructure to connect to established power grids. When built, these projects could provide about 14,000 megawatts – enough energy to power nearly 4.8 million homes and support more than 20,000 construction and operations jobs.