Secretary Jewell said, "The competitive lease sale offshore Virginia will mark an important transition from planning to action when it comes to capturing the enormous clean energy potential offered by Atlantic wind. Responsible commercial wind energy development has the potential to create jobs, increase our energy security, and strengthen our nation's competitiveness."
Under the terms of the Final Sale Notice, the wind energy area offshore Virginia will be auctioned as a single lease. The area is located 23.5 nautical miles from the Virginia Beach coastline and has the potential to support more than 2,000 megawatts of wind generation -- enough electricity to power approximately 700,000 homes. A release from DOI indicates that as part of President Obama's comprehensive Climate Action Plan [See WIMS 6/25/13 & See WIMS 6/26/13], he challenged DOI to re-double efforts on the renewable energy program by approving an additional 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy production on public lands and waters by 2020.
The area, composed of 19 full OCS blocks and 13 sub-blocks, was selected after intensive work with the Commonwealth and stakeholders to avoid existing uses of the OCS offshore Virginia, including sensitive ecological habitat and shoals along the coast north of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, military training areas, marine vessel traffic, a dredge disposal site, and areas of concern specified by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility. The area available for auction is identical to the one announced in the Proposed Sale Notice that was published in the Federal Register on December 3, 2012, for a 60-day public comment period. BOEM carefully considered public comments before developing the Final Sale Notice. The Final Sale Notice will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow (July 23).