Another small step for offshore wind in Delaware, N.J.

U.S. Department of the Interior clears the way for offshore wind power off the mid-Atlantic coast.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) completed its environmental assessment for issuing wind energy leases off the coast.  The assessment found there would be “no significant environmental and socioeconomic impacts.”

That clears the way for the sale of leases to build wind turbines off the coast on the Outer Continental Shelf off the shores of Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia.  “Offshore wind holds incredible potential for our country, and we’re moving full-steam ahead to accelerate the siting, leasing and construction of new projects,” said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The announcement is part of the “Smart from the Start” initiative, designed to speed up development of offshore wind power.  Senator Tom Carper (D-Delaware) calls today’s announcement is an important step. “Creating energy from wind off our coasts just makes sense.  It is a reliable, clean energy resource that will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, curb harmful air pollutants, and create good paying American jobs in manufacturing and construction.”

Delaware’s attempt to be on the leading edge of that effort hit a major bump late last year, when BlueWater Wind’s plans for an offshore wind farm were abandoned.  BlueWater’s parent company NRG Energy put the brakes on the plan because it’s been unable to find an investment partner for Bluewater Wind.  The company also halted its power purchase agreement with Delmarva Power for 200 megawatts over 25 years. 

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