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BOEM Opens Bidding on Virginia Wind Energy Area Today!

OSW2With bidding scheduled to begin at 10:30 AM this morning on the 112,700 acre Wind Energy Area 23 miles off the Virginia coast, the Sierra Club expressed support for development of offshore wind as a means of reducing the carbon pollution from fossil fuel power plants that contributes to climate change.

“Offshore wind along the entire Atlantic Coast could eventually meet all our electricity needs,” said Glen Besa, Director of the Sierra Club in Virginia. “The 2000 megawatts that this Virginia site could generate, enough power to serve 700,000 homes, is a down payment on our clean energy future. With this investment in clean energy would come thousands of jobs in the manufacture of components for these massive turbines and in the marine construction industry.”

Among the eight firms qualified by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to bid today is Dominion-Virginia Power. Dominion-Virginia Power’s current plans to meet future electricity demand would result in a 50% increase in the carbon pollution over the next 20 years. Dominion is already Virginia’s largest emitter of carbon pollution (CO2) which is the single largest pollutant driving climate change.

“As a monopoly and Virginia’s largest utility, Dominion has a moral obligation as a good corporate citizen to address climate change,” said Besa. “To date, Dominion has failed to address climate change in its electricity generation plans. Whether Dominion wins the auction today to build these wind farms or agrees to buy that wind power from another developer, it is critical that Dominion look to wind, solar and energy efficiency as the primary sources to meet our future energy needs. “

Following today’s bidding process, the winner will have 6 months to develop a Site Assessment Plan followed by a five year time frame in which the developer must prepare a Construction and Operations Plan. The winner of today’s bid could be breaking ground on an offshore wind farm before 2020 with full build out of the 2,000 MWs before 2030.

To check the status of the auction go to BOEM’s website by clicking here. The website will be updated throughout the day.

Click here to view our OSW Fact Sheet providing background for today’s VA lease sale.

Check out our press thus far:
Bidding starts for Va. offshore wind energy area“, Richmond Times-Dispatch
113,000 acres off Virginia coast up for auction for wind energy“, Daily Press

About the Author

Eileen is the Virginia Conservation Program Manager with the Virginia Chapter Sierra Club.