Va. Company Intending To Bid On Offshore Wind

OCEAN CITY — With the lease sale looming for roughly 80,000 acres off the coast of Ocean City for the development of an offshore wind energy farm of the coast of the resort, at least one major player this week announced its intention to bid on the project.

Virginia-based Dominion Energy officials on Tuesday announced the company plans to bid in the auction of 80,000-acre Maryland Wind Energy Area roughly 10 to 30 miles off the coast of Ocean City later this year. Dominion is the first company to officially announce its intention to bid on the state’s designated Wind Energy Area although other bidders will likely come forward.

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in December announced Maryland’s Wind Energy Area would be put out for bid sometime this year although no firm timetable for the lease has been established. Maryland’s proposed wind farm area will be auctioned in two separate leases with a north lease are totaling 32,737 acres and a south lease area of 47,970. Dominion officials said this week they intend to bid on the entire package.

Dominion was the successful bidder in BOEM’s auction in September for a wind energy area about 24 miles off the coast of Virginia totaling 112,799 acres.

“Offshore wind shows the most promise for building utility-sized renewable energy projects in the mid-Atlantic region,” said Mary Doswell, senior vice president of Dominion’s Alternative Energy Solutions Unit. “The bureau’s Wind Energy Areas offer both the consistent winds and the acreage to develop these large-scale projects. Given the proximity to our leased area off of Virginia and the excellent port in Hampton Roads, there should be economies of scale that could benefit both regions.”

Dominion’s filing and those of other interested bidders will be reviewed by BOEM to determine which are financially qualified to participate in the auction. The auction was announced in a proposed sale notice the bureau issued in December and the deadline for filing comments and qualification packages expired on Tuesday. It is not known who else or how many other companies submitted qualification packages.

Last year, the General Assembly approved the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013 after two unsuccessful attempts in prior years. The proposal calls for a vast wind energy farm of as many as 40 turbines off the coast of Ocean City in the designated Wind Energy Area, which ranges from as close as 10 miles off the coast to as far as 30 miles.