Interior Announces Lease for Delaware Offshore Wind
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and its Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced on October 23 that BOEM has reached an agreement on the first commercial lease under its "Smart from the Start" initiative for offshore wind energy development. Situated in federal waters, the site covers 96,430 acres approximately 11 nautical miles off the coast of Delaware.
The lease grants NRG Bluewater Wind Delaware LLC the exclusive right to submit one or more plans to BOEM to conduct activities in support of wind energy development in the lease area. The company may submit a Site Assessment Plan with a proposal to conduct site assessment activities, such as the installation of a meteorological tower or meteorological buoy. It can also submit a Construction and Operations Plan to propose construction of the actual wind facility and cabling to shore.
NRG Bluewater originally proposed a 450-megawatt project off the coast of Delaware, with estimates that the project could generate enough power to supply electricity for more than 100,000 homes. This estimate could change after NRG undergoes additional planning and survey work and submits its plan to BOEM, which will assess the potential plans based on environmental, technical, and other factors before granting approval for construction. The Smart from the Start initiative for the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf, announced in 2010, is designed to facilitate siting, leasing, and construction of new offshore renewable projects. See the DOI press release and the BOEM Delaware webpage, which includes a map of the site.