Feds Approve First Offshore Wind Projects

John Davis

The federal government has granted leases for America’s first offshore wind projects.

This story from CNNMoney.com says officials with the U.S. Mineral Management Service (MMS) have moved ahead with plans to lease the outer continental shelf to several companies:

Maureen Bornholdt, program manager of the MMS offshore alternative energy program, said the Interior Department remains on track to complete drafting the rules by the end of the year, wrapping up a three-year process.

There is a “very strong level of interest,” she said. “We received a lot of substantial, constructive comments after workshops around the nation. We’ll hunker down for the next several weeks.”

Bornholdt declined to offer a specific dollar value on the leases that the government will be awarding, but she pointed out that the Energy Policy Act requires the federal government to receive a “fair return” through rents and operating fees, and competitive lease auctions.

“It’s not free,” she said of the leases. “We need to get a return there.”

The article goes on to point out the increased interest in offshore wind energy projects, exhibited by the large turnout at an American Wind Energy Association offshore wind conference in Delaware this week.

The first off-shore wind farms are expected to go up in the ocean just off the coasts of Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and California.