Offshore Wind Power Leases Issued for Delaware and New Jersey Coasts
The new exploratory leases may spur the development of offshore wind power in the United States.
The U.S. Department of the Interior issued five exploratory leases on June 23 for wind power development off the coasts of Delaware and New Jersey. The first-ever federal leases for offshore wind power in the United States were awarded to Deepwater Wind, LLC; the Delaware and New Jersey subsidiaries of Bluewater Wind LLC; and the New Jersey subsidiary of Fishermen's Energy LLC. The leases authorize data gathering activities, allowing for construction of meteorological towers on the Outer Continental Shelf at sites that range from 6 to 18 miles offshore. (Back in 2002, Cape Wind Associates received approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to erect a meteorological tower off the coast of Massachusetts, but the federal process at that time did not involve a lease.) The new leaseholders will share their data with the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service (MMS) to help the agency evaluate future offshore wind power proposals. See the Interior Department press release, the MMS Renewable Energy Program Web site, and for reference, the Cape Wind press release from 2002.
The exploratory leases are a key step for a number of proposed projects, including one off the coast of Delaware and four off the coast of New Jersey. Bluewater Wind proposes to build a 450-megawatt (MW) wind power facility off the coast of Delaware and a 350-MW wind power facility off the coast of New Jersey. Other New Jersey projects include a 330-MW wind power facility proposed by Fishermen's Energy and a 350-MW project proposed by Deepwater Wind and PSEG Renewable Generation, under a partnership called Garden State Offshore Energy.