Great news for the American offshore wind sector. President Obama has made the Atlantic Coast available, for the first time ever, to offshore wind developers.
The Department of the Interior intends to offer almost 278,000 acres up for leases in early 2013; the areas covered lie off the shores of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Virginia.
From the Guardian:
“Wind energy along the Atlantic holds enormous potential, and today we are moving closer to tapping into this massive domestic energy resource to create jobs, increase our energy security and strengthen our nation’s competitiveness in this new energy frontier,” the interior secretary, Ken Salazar, said in a statement.
Although a number of wind farms have been built recently across the continental U.S., none have been completed offshore. The industry is now wary to proceed with more farms since production tax credits are set to expire at the end of the year, and so far there has been no move to renew them.
The Atlantic Coast holds enough wind potential to power around 1.4 million households.
The Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound—the first offshore proposal in the U.S.—faced stiff opposition when it was announced. The project would feature 130 turbines, and it is expected to begin operations by the end of 2015. Still, that’s after fifteen years of legal turmoil.
As the Guardian reports, the new proposed areas off Rhode Island and Massachusetts are about 10 miles offshore; the Virginia proposal is around 23 nautical miles off southern Virginia.