Offshore Wind Farm Auction Begins; Online Bidding Underway For 80,000-Acre Lease Areas

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OCEAN CITY — Bidding is brisk thus far on Tuesday morning for the lease of the vast area off the coast of Ocean City designated for a future offshore wind farm with multiple bidders driving up the price for the two different areas in the first few hours of the auction.

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) opened the online auction for Maryland Wind Energy Area (WEA) at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday and by mid-morning the bids were coming fast and furious. Maryland’s WEA is a vast tract of roughly 80,000 acres, of the coast of Ocean City designated for the development of a future offshore wind farm of as many as 40 turbines. The Maryland WEA covers roughly 94 square nautical miles with its western edge roughly 10 miles off the coast of the resort and extending about 30 miles out.

The WEA is divided into two distinct lease areas, a northern lease area and a southern lease area. In July, BOEM announced the final sale notice for the two vast tracts off the coast and set an auction date for Tuesday, August 19. A total of 16 private sector entities are eligible to compete in the bidding process. The 16 companies underwent a rigorous review process and BOEM has determined they are all legally, technically and financially qualified to participate in the lease sale.

The bidding opened at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday and already the selling price for the two lease areas is steadily climbing. As of 11:40 a.m., two bidders are challenging for the north lease areas and after nine rounds, the bid amount has climbed to around $1.2 million. After nine rounds of bidding for the south lease area, three bidders have driven up the price to just over $1.7 million as of 11:40 a.m. on Tuesday. The bidding will go on throughout the day and possibly into tomorrow until a successful bidder emerges and a final price is reached.

To track the day’s progress, click over to www.boem.gov and click on link at top of page.

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