Offshore renewable energy leasing: Let the competition begin!

Vol. 45 No. 3

Peter J. Schaumberg is a principal at Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. in Washington, D.C. and co-chairs the firm’s Natural Resources and Project Development Practice Group. Formerly, he was the deputy associate solicitor for Mineral Resources at the U.S. Department of the Interior. James Auslander is a principal at Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. in Washington D.C. and co-chairs the firm’s NEPA/Wetlands/ESA Practice Group. John Cossa is an associate at Beveridge and Diamond’s Washington, D.C. office, and formerly served as lead counsel for the Department of the Interior’s offshore renewable energy program.

After almost a decade of anticipation, the federal government recently held its first-ever competitive commercial wind energy lease sales on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). In July 2013, Deepwater Wind, LLC fended off two other bidders for a pair of leases offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts with a winning bid of $3.8 million. In a September 2013 sale, Dominion Resources, Inc. acquired a 113,000-acre lease offshore Virginia with a bid of $1.6 million. Further lease sales offshore Maryland and New Jersey are anticipated in the near future, with another sale offshore Massachusetts likely to follow. These offshore wind projects can be huge—it is estimated that Dominion’s lease offshore Virginia is capable of generating 2 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power 700,000 homes.

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