The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on September 4 completed the nation’s second competitive lease sale for renewable energy in federal waters, garnering $1.6 million in high bids for 112,799 acres offshore of Virginia. Virginia Electric and Power Company is the provisional winner of the sale, which auctioned a Wind Energy Area approximately 23.5 nautical miles off Virginia Beach that has the potential to support 2,000 megawatts of wind generation—enough energy to power more than 700,000 homes. The sale follows a July 31 auction of 164,750 acres offshore Rhode Island and Massachusetts for wind energy development that was provisionally won by Deepwater Wind New England, LLC, generating $3.8 million in high bids.
The leaseholder will have a preliminary term of six months in which to submit a Site Assessment Plan to DOI's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for approval. A Site Assessment Plan describes the activities (e.g., installation of meteorological towers and buoys) the leaseholder plans to perform for the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions of its commercial lease area. After a Site Assessment Plan is approved, the leaseholder will have up to four and a half years in which to submit a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) for approval, which will provides a detailed outline for the construction and operation of a wind energy project on the leased property. If the COP is approved, the leaseholder will have an operations term of 33 years. See the DOI press release .