Earlier this week, DOI Secretary Jewell joined with Governor Patrick to announce plans to auction more than 1,000 square miles on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore Massachusetts for wind energy development. The auction, which will be implemented as four separate leases, pretty much will follow the form of earlier lease auctions:
• Bidders will be prequalified to participate in the auction
• The auction will include multiple factors, including non-monetary factors
• The winning bidder or bidders will have one year in which to submit a site assessment for the work necessary to determine if a project on the leasehold is actually feasible
• Winning bidders pay a per-acre fee prior to commercial operation; they will essentially pay a royalty after commercial operation begins
• BOEM has issued a revised Environmental Assessment to support the lease sales, but each specific wind energy project will require separate NEPA compliance
I don’t know about you – and perhaps it is just the onset of nice June weather — but I have a feeling that the offshore wind industry really is about to take off in the US. Call me a cockeyed optimist.