Despite criticism about the lack of action on climate change policy, the Obama Administration is moving forward with further expanding renewable energy policy. Case in point, the US Department of the Interior (DOI) is opening up bids for offshore wind farming off the Atlantic Coast.
US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Tom Beaudreau, and Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes announced on Friday a proposal to open bids for 278,000 acres of offshore wind energy in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Virginia, the release said.
“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,” said Salazar in the statement.
“We are implementing the President’s all-of-the-above strategy by focusing on developing areas with the lowest potential conflicts and the greatest expected gains. As we experience record domestic oil and gas development, we are moving forward at the same time with efforts to ensure that America continues to lead the world at developing the energy of the future,” he said.
Set for 2013, these will be the first-ever competitive lease sales for Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) wind energy.
The proposed offshore competitive wind sales is just another attempt to cut oil dependency and US foreign oil use, which is at 50%, the lowest since 1995, according to US government data.
BOEM plans the sales of a total of 277,550 acres in Virginia, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, powering up to 1.4 million homes with clean energy.
Meanwhile, the announcement may just be a first step in boosting the overall offshore picture. The Guardian also noted potential projects down the road:
“Other blocks identified include areas of North Carolina and New Jersey. There are also plans to eventually site wind farms on the Pacific Coast, in Oregon and Hawaii.”
Despite the announcement, the impending end of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy projects at the end of this year could put the industry in a stalemate and set back future wind projects.
Nonetheless, the proposed bidding for offshore wind projects will continue to move renewable energy policy forward and put the fossil fuel industry on further notice.
Source: US Department of the Interior
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