US Finalises Three Offshore Wind Energy Areas in Central Atlantic

The total area is ~356,550 acres and can support 4 to 8 GW of energy generation


The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced that it has finalized three offshore wind energy areas (WEAs) in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, potentially supporting 4 GW to 8 GW in energy generation when fully developed.

The total area of the three WEAs is approximately 356,550 acres.

The area under WEA A-2 covers 101,767 acres and is 26 nautical miles (nm) from Delaware Bay. WEA B-1 covers 78,285 acres and is about 23.5 nm offshore of Ocean City, Maryland. WEA C-1 covers 176,506 acres and is positioned about 35 nm from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay offshore Virginia.

BOEM plans to conduct an environmental assessment to evaluate the potential environmental impacts related to wind energy activities on the U.S. Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. It has sought public input on key environmental concerns and suggestions for reasonable alternatives to be considered in the assessment.

Stakeholders can submit their bids by August 31, 2023.

BOEM collaborated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to create a comprehensive, ecosystem-based ocean planning model to aid in selecting the final WEAs.

The model utilized the available data on natural resources, ocean industries, and areas of national security activities. It identified areas with high wind energy potential while minimizing impacts on other ocean users and sensitive environmental resources.

The final WEAs are in comparatively shallow water. BOEM may identify additional WEAs in deepwater areas offshore the U.S. Central Atlantic coast for future leasing once further study has been done.

The U.S. Department of the Interior is set to conduct the first-ever offshore wind energy lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico. The upcoming lease auction, scheduled for August 29, 2023, will offer three key lease areas with significant potential.

In March, the U.S. Department of Energy released its Offshore Wind Energy Strategy, which targets deploying 30 GW of offshore wind projects by 2030 while spurring $12 billion per year in direct private investment.