The federal government plans to sell leases for wind energy development off the Virginia coast sometime next year.
Virginia will be one of three states involved in the sale of leases for 277,550 acres in the Atlantic. The other states are Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
“There is energetic interest in the resource off of Virginia’s coast,” Gov. Bob McDonnell said in a statement. “We look forward to a Virginia lease sale and to building an industry in Virginia that will serve offshore wind development up and down the East Coast and bring good paying jobs to our commonwealth.“
The government’s move marks the first-ever competitive lease sales on the Atlantic’s Outer Continental Shelf for wind energy. Three previous lease sales for areas in the Gulf of Mexico were held in November and last year.
The “wind energy areas” proposed for development in the Atlantic are expected to be able to support more than 4,000 megawatts (MW) of wind generation. That is enough electricity to power about 1.4 million homes.
The Department of the Interior said the proposed lease area off the Virginia coast will be auctioned as a single lease. It totals about 112,800 acres about 23.5 nautical miles offshore southern Virginia.
It is expected to support more than 2,000 MW of wind generation, enough power for 700,000 homes.
A date for the auctions has not been set.
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