Interior sets January date to auction 742K acres off Mass.

Source: Phil Taylor, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Interior Department today announced it will hold an auction Jan. 29 of 742,000 acres of federal waters off Massachusetts for commercial wind development, the agency’s largest competitive lease sale to date.

The Massachusetts wind energy area could support up to 5,000 megawatts of wind generation, according to scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo.

A dozen companies have qualified to take part in the online auction, which will consider both monetary and nonmonetary factors — such as community benefit or power purchase agreements — to determine a winner.

It will be the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s fourth competitive offshore wind lease auction after previous sales off the coasts of Massachusetts-Rhode Island, Virginia and Maryland. Sales have generated more than $14 million in high bids for more than 357,500 acres.

“This sale will triple the amount of federal offshore acreage available for commercial-scale wind energy projects, bringing Massachusetts to the forefront of our nation’s new energy frontier,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement.

The wind energy area about 14 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard will be offered as four separate leases of sizes ranging from 141,000 acres to 248,000 acres. The area is identical to what was identified in BOEM’sproposed sale notice in June.

The following companies have qualified to place bids: Deepwater Wind New England LLC, EDF Renewable Development Inc., Energy Management Inc., Fishermen’s Energy LLC, Green Sail Energy LLC, Iberdrola Renewables Inc., NRG Bluewater Wind Massachusetts LLC, OffshoreMW LLC, RES America Developments Inc., Sea Breeze Energy LLC, U.S. Mainstream Renewable Power (Offshore) Inc. and U.S. Wind Inc.