U.S. considers offshore wind lease

Aug. 10, 2012 at 6:35 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. government said it recognized a request by a division of Norwegian energy company Statoil to have a lease sale for wind energy off the coast of Maine.

Statoil North America asked the U.S. government to have a lease sale for offshore Maine to accommodate a demonstration project for floating wind turbines. The U.S. Interior Department said the project could include four turbines that could generate a combined 12 megawatts of power.

The Interior Department notes this is the first time the government has considered development of floating wind turbine technology for deep waters on its continental shelf. The requested acreage covers 22 square miles.

"We will continue our close coordination as the U.S. federal government, the state of Maine and other stakeholders proceed with the next steps in the review of this project, including moving forward with environmental review and determining whether there's competitive interest from other developers," Tommy Beaudreau, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said in a statement.

His department said it would consider whether to have a competitive or non-competitive lease depending on third-party interest.

Statoil submitted its application for a commercial wind energy lease in 2011.

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