Ed Markey hails leases of waters off Mass. for wind energy

Source: By Marie Szaniszlo, Boston globe • Posted: Friday, January 30, 2015

Modern Windmills
U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey hailed yesterday’s lease sale of more than 354,000 acres of federal waters off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket to two companies for potential wind energy development, saying it could provide enough electricity to power more than 700,000 homes.

“These same harsh winds that we’ve endured for centuries can be turned into clean power for our homes, creating jobs even as it cuts the carbon pollution that is worsening climate change and supercharging storms,”“ Markey said in a statement. “Instead of drilling for oil and gas off of the Atlantic Coast, we should pursue a clean energy vision that safeguards our environment and boosts our economy.”

The provisional winners of the auction, which raised $448,171, were New Jersey-based OffshoreMWcq, which bid on 187,523 acres, and Colorado-based RES Americas, which bid on 166,886 acres, according to the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Two other tracts went unclaimed, officials said, likely because of the dual challenges of building wind turbines in deeper waters and convincing a company to buy the power they would produce.

The auction came as the future of Cape Wind’s plan to build a wind farm in Nantucket Sound remained unclear because National Grid and NsStar backed out of their contracts with the company, saying it had missed a Dec. 31 deadline for the necessary financing and had not provided collateral to extend the deadline.

But Markey said Massachusetts “must continue to lead on offshore wind, and this (auction) is a sign that lower-cost offshore wind will come with increased competition and new technologies.”