New Progress for Virginia Offshore Wind Energy

New Progress for Virginia Offshore Wind Energy

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London Array Phase 1 Offshore wind Farm is seen under Construction at Frinton On Sea (1209) Saturday 14th April 2012The Obama administration today announced plans to sell leases for preliminary offshore wind energy development activities in two areas of federal waters recently identified and reviewed off the coasts of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Virginia. The leases will be sold through a competitive auction in 2013:

“Wind energy along the Atlantic holds enormous potential, and today we are moving closer to tapping into this massive domestic energy resource to create jobs, increase our energy security and strengthen our nation’s competitiveness in this new energy frontier,” said [Interior Secretary Ken] Salazar. “We are implementing the President’s all-of-the-above strategy by focusing on developing areas with the lowest potential conflicts and the greatest expected gains. As we experience record domestic oil and gas development, we are moving forward at the same time with efforts to ensure that America continues to lead the world at developing the energy of the future.”

The lease sales, which will be held next year, will be the first-ever competitive sales on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for wind energy, and are major milestones in the Administration’s “Smart from the Start” wind energy program to facilitate the siting, leasing and construction of new projects. These lease sales cover two WEAs along the Atlantic coast that have high wind resource potential. […]

The proposed lease area offshore Virginia will be auctioned as a single lease and totals about 112,800 acres about 23.5 nautical miles offshore southern Virginia. It is expected to support more than 2,000 MW of wind generation – also enough electricity to power 700,000 homes. For a map of the proposed area, click here.

Learn more about why developing offshore wind energy is so critical for Virginia’s environment & economy – and how you can help keep it moving along – from the Virginia Conservation Network’s Chelsea Harnish.

  • Eileen Levandoski

    Virginia Positioned for Offshore Wind Lease Sale, Ball in Dominion’s Court Now!

    Today, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced competitive lease sales for renewable energy development in two wind energy areas (WEAs) to include federal waters off Virginia’s coast.

    Sierra Club Virginia Chapter Director Glen Besa offers the following statement in response:

    [Richmond, Virginia] – The federal government has taken this important step towards allowing offshore wind to be a reality for Virginia. Now we need our Virginia leaders who decide what sources are powering our homes to follow their lead and pave the way for offshore wind to be part of our energy future.

    Developing the Virginia lease sale area’s full 2000 megawatts of power is a real game changer. Not only does it power over 500,000 homes but developed in its entirety, that 2000 megawatts is also a large enough amount of energy potential to attract industry investment in Virginia which in turn creates thousands of jobs.

    Dominion is one of eight companies proposing to develop Virginia’s offshore wind lease area. Whether they win the auction or not, they remain essential to the process. With its monopoly in Virginia, Dominion will be the only utility capable of delivering that wind energy to our homes. Dominion is potentially buying up these leases, but with no immediate plan to develop them. We need to know that whoever owns the right to develop offshore wind actually intends to do so. Delaying will only hurt our economy, limit clean energy job growth and threaten our communities with more coastal flooding and sea level rise.

    Superstorm Sandy was a particularly tragic example of the extreme weather that climate change is already inflicting on the planet. Unless we continue reducing carbon emissions from coal, oil and gas storms like Sandy could become the new normal. We need Dominion to take responsibility for cutting pollution by immediately advancing work to bring offshore wind online in Virginia to replace outdated dirty energy sources.

  • NWVirginian

    Would the SCC allow them to use ratepayer funds to buy up leases only to sit on them?