Offshore wind off the Atlantic coast took another step forward yesterday when Obama administration officials reached agreement on a lease with offshore wind developer, NRG Blue Water Wind, LLC, for commercial wind development in a 100,000 acre area about 12 miles off the coast of Delaware. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau announced the first lease granted under the Department of Interior’s “Smart from the Start” program, which establishes a more efficient, environmentally-responsible permitting process for offshore wind projects.
Environment America Energy Program Director Rob Sargent issued the following statement in response:
“There is tremendous potential for producing clean, pollution-free wind energy off of our coasts. We are thrilled to hear that the Obama administration has announced another critical step forward toward making this vision a reality.
“Tapping into the power of offshore wind along the Atlantic coast is vital to getting the region and the nation off fossil fuels without creating more pollution. Reaching the Department of Energy’s conservative goal of 54 gigawatts of offshore wind power would reduce global warming pollution by the equivalent of taking nearly 18 million cars off the road. A bold commitment to clean energy such as offshore wind would also significantly reduce harmful air pollution and reduce the risk of oil spills and other fossil fuel-related disasters.
“Moving America toward more clean, efficient and renewable energy will require a dynamic partnership between local, state and federal officials, advocates and the private sector. This lease agreement is the result of a lot of hard work and collaboration between state and federal officials, the wind developers, environmental organizations and others.
“We are pleased with this step forward and we applaud the Interior Department, Delaware state officials and others for their leadership in moving us one step closer to having wind turbines harnessing energy off our coast.”
There is strong support in East Coast states for the Administration’s efforts to usher in offshore wind along the Atlantic coast. In late July more than 200 environmental organizations, businesses, and local and state officials from up and down the Atlantic coast wrote a letter to Federal officials calling for bold action to accelerate the development of offshore wind.