U.S. Planning Largest Wind-Energy Auction Off Massachusetts

Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Interior Department is

planning the nation’s largest competitive auction for offshore

wind projects, 742,000 acres off Massachusetts that may generate

as much as 5 gigawatts of electricity.

The area will be divided into four zones and may produce

enough power for 1.4 million homes, the department said today in

an e-mailed statement. Twelve companies, including Fishermen’s

Energy LLC, Deepwater Wind LLC and Iberdrola SA, are qualified

to bid on the areas about 14 miles off the coast. The auction is

scheduled for Jan. 29.

“This sale will triple the amount of federal offshore

acreage available for commercial-scale wind-energy projects,”

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in the statement.

The department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has

awarded seven leases — two through non-competitive bids — for

projects in the Atlantic Ocean, including Cape Wind in Nantucket

Sound. Five competitive sales for more than 357,000 acres off

Maryland, Virginia and New England have generated more than $14

million.

BOEM in 2015 plans to hold another competitive auction for

lease areas off the coast of New Jersey, where last week the

state’s Board of Utilities rejected a proposal for a wind farm

near Atlantic City.

The U.S. has no utility-scale offshore wind installations,

and development has lagged elsewhere, including in China.

Offshore wind energy costs about twice as much to produce as

power from coal, according to data compiled by Bloomberg New

Energy Finance.

To contact the reporters on this story:

Mark Drajem in Washington at

mdrajem@bloomberg.net;

Justin Doom in New York at

jdoom1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:

Jon Morgan at

jmorgan97@bloomberg.net;

Reed Landberg at

landberg@bloomberg.net

Will Wade, Jim Efstathiou Jr.

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