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European developers seek US offshore wind approval

Interest in the country’s vast offshore wind potential is increasing now that several projects are moving ahead.

German energy developer PNE Wind and Norwegian oil company Statoil submitted unsolicited proposals last week to build over 1GW of offshore wind in the US.

PNE and Statoil, which both have experience building offshore wind projects in Europe, have both requested leases to build at least 400MW at sites around 30 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. PNE also proposed building 400MW 15 nautical miles south of Long Island.

The total area of the Massachusetts requests is around 390,000 acres and is close to areas already leased for development by Dong Energy and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. PNE proposed the New York area be in a 41,000-acre site.

The requests were made to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, a federal agency tasked with awarding leases for offshore wind development. BOEM will now determine if there are other companies interested in developing the proposed sites and whether it should hold a lease auction.

The unsolicited proposals highlight a growing interest among developers to tap the US’s vast offshore wind potential.

Overall, BOEM has awarded 11 other leases so far, mostly along the US’s east coast, including one awarded to Statoil in December for an area around 80,000 acres near New York.

The country’s first offshore wind project reached operation last fall when Deepwater Wind completed the 30MW Block Island development. Deepwater Wind also recently agreed to the US’s first offshore wind power-purchase agreement for a 90MW project off the eastern tip of New York’s Long Island.