Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Rep. Ed Markey, 202-225-2836

Interior to hold competitive lease sales for Massachusetts and Rhode Island areas in July

WASHINGTON (June 4, 2013) – The Interior Department announced today that the nation’s first offshore wind lease sale will occur on July 31 for two parcels off the shores of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee with jurisdiction over offshore energy development, praised the move to advance wind energy off New England's coastline.

“Offshore wind is a win for American jobs, for American energy security, and for our environment, and it will start off the coast of New England," said Rep. Markey. "With lease sales in federal waters, offshore wind will also be a boon for U.S. taxpayers. I commend the Interior Department for working closely with the states, tribes, fishermen, commercial shippers, and the environmental community to establish these low-conflict areas and for conducting these lease sales in a way that will ensure leases go to companies that are serious about developing new wind energy.”

The area for lease consists of two blocks off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts totaling 164,750 acres. This area has the potential to accommodate nearly 3,400 megawatts of offshore wind capacity, enough to power more than 1 million homes. Nine companies have been pre-approved to bid at auction based on their legal, technical and financial qualifications.

In awarding leases, the Interior Department will consider important factors like whether a bidder holds a development agreement or a power purchase agreement to sell the power, a policy for which Rep. Markey has strongly advocated.

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