U.S. plans second-ever offshore wind lease

July 23, 2013 at 7:42 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 23 (UPI) -- More than 100,000 acres off the coast of Virginia will go on the auction block in September to support wind energy, the U.S. Interior Department said.

The Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said the renewable energy lease sale will take place Sept. 4. It is for more than 100,000 acres off Virginia designated for commercial wind energy development.

The Interior Department estimates the offshore acreage could support the development of 2,000 megawatts of wind energy. The government said Monday that's enough to meet the annual energy demand of approximately 700,000 homes.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the wind energy lease would complement the benefits of higher U.S. oil and natural gas production, adding a layer of energy security with renewables.

The September lease will be the second of its kind in U.S. history. The first-ever wind energy lease sale in the country is set for July 31 for maritime acreage off the coast of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

A prototype offshore wind project off the coast of Maine in June became the first of its kind to be connected to the nation's electricity grid.

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