Commercial Lease for Wind Energy Offshore Virginia

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 Wind Energy Area Offshore Virginia

 

Overview

A commercial lease with Virginia Electric and Power Company (dba Dominion Virginia Power) for the Virginia Wind Energy Area went into effect on November 1, 2013. The commercial lease sale (i.e., auction) for this lease was held September 4, 2013, representing the second competitive lease sale for renewable energy on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Additional information about this lease, including the preceding public notices and environmental documentation that informed this lease is provided below.

Call for Information and Nominations

The OCS Lands Act requires BOEM to award leases competitively, unless BOEM determines there is no competitive interest.  On Feb. 3, 2012, BOEM published a "Call for Information and Nominations" ("Call") in the Federal Register to initiate the first step in the renewable energy leasing process offshore Virginia. The purpose of the Call was to help BOEM determine whether competitive interest exists in the Call Area. The Call also requested information from the public on issues relevant to BOEM's review of nominations for potential leasing in the area.  Click on the links below to view maps of the Virginia Call Area:

Environmental Review

On Feb. 3, 2012, BOEM also published in the Federal Register a Notice of Availability for the final Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for commercial wind lease issuance and site assessment activities on the Atlantic OCS offshore New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia.  Consultations ran concurrently with preparation of the EA and included consultations under the Endangered Species Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Coastal Zone Management Act.

The comment period for the Virginia Call closed on March 19, 2012. In response, BOEM received eight public comment submissions andeight nominations of interest by companies wishing to obtain a commercial lease for a wind energy project.

Proposed Sale Notice

The Virginia Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) was published in the Federal Register on December 3, 2012 under Docket ID: BOEM-2012-0033. The PSN provided the proposed lease terms and conditions, as well as details regarding how the lease sale could conducted.  A 60-day comment period accompanied the notice and provided an opportunity for potential bidders to submit input to BOEM before the lease package and auction procedures are finalized. In response, BOEM received two additional qualifications packages from companies wishing to participate in the auction. Several public comments submissions were also received by BOEM in response to this notice, which are available by clicking hereBOEM also held a public seminar during this comment period to introduce potential bidders and the public to the auction format and procedures, as well as answer any questions. Information related to the PSN is provided below:

Final Sale Notice

On July 23, 2013, BOEM announced in a Final Sale Notice that a commercial lease sale (i.e., auction) will be held Sept. 4, 2013, for the Wind Energy Area (WEA) offshore Virginia. The auction represents the second competitive lease sale for renewable energy on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

The WEA covers approximately 112,799 acres and its western edge is located about 23.5 nautical miles from the Virginia Beach coastline. It will be auctioned as a single lease and is expected to support more than 2,000 megawatts of wind generation – enough electricity to power 700,000 homes. Materials related to the Final Sale Notice are below:

The area available for auction is identical to the one announced in the Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) published in the Federal Register on Dec. 3, 2012 for a 60-day public comment period. BOEM carefully considered public comments received during this time prior to developing the Final Sale Notice, as discussed in the Response to Comments above.

Commercial Lease

The commercial lease sale for Virginia was held on September 4, 2013. At the conclusion of the sale, BOEM announced that Virginia Electric and Power Company (dba Dominion Virginia Power) was the provisional winner. The sale received $1.6 million as the high bid. In addition to Dominion Virginia Power, the other participant in the sale was Apex Virginia Offshore Wind, LLC.  A summary of bidding results is provided here.

On Nov. 1, 2013, the commercial wind energy lease with Dominion Virginia Power went into effect. The executed lease and maps of the lease area are provided below.