Regions Central Virginia

Dominion to bid on wind-energy tract off the Maryland coast

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Richmond-based Dominion Resources wants to bid on a wind-energy auction involving nearly 80,000 acres off the coast of Maryland.

The company has filed with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to participate in the auction of two leases in the Atlantic where the company would erect electricity-generating wind turbines.

"Offshore wind shows the most promise for building utility-sized renewable energy projects in the mid-Atlantic region," Mary Doswell, senior vice president for Dominion's Alternative Energy Solutions unit, said in a statement. "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."

The areas being auctioned off involve the North Lease, totaling 32,737 acres, and the South Lease, consisting of 46,970 acres.

Dominion was the successful bidder in the bureau's auction last September for 112,799 acres of the Atlantic, 24 miles off the coast of Virginia.

BOEM will examine Dominion and other bidders to determine which are financially qualified to participate in the new auction.

A date for the auction has not been set, but it is expected to take place this year.

Dominion has received two offshore wind energy technology awards from the U.S. Department of Energy. The first, a $500,000 grant, is to be used in developing ways to reduce the cost of offshore wind generation by 25 percent. The second, a $4 million cost-share grant, was used in the initial development of an offshore wind turbine demonstration project.

Dominion has completed the initial development of its demonstration project for the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Program.

The company is one of six companies in the running for a $47 million grant to complete their demonstration projects. If successful, Dominion would continue work on two 6-megawatt wind turbines off the Virginia coast.

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