Thursday, July 08, 2010

Competition for Bluewater Wind in Delaware?

Will competition slow down NRG Bluewater Wind's plans to build offshore wind in Delaware? As Aaron Nathans reports in the News Journal, Occidental Development & Equities, LLC of New Jersey submitted a filing to the Interior Department expressing interest in six of the 31 blocks that Bluewater wants to use to build its offshore wind project about 12 miles off Delaware's beaches.

Each of these blocks is 3 nautical miles to a side. As a rule of thumb, offshore wind farms require about half a mile of elbow room between towers. A very rough calculation tells me that even if Occidental were successful in securing these six blocks, Bluewater would still have plenty of room to build out its planned wind farm and then some.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation & Enforcement (formerly known as the Minerals Management Service) issued a request for expressions of interest (RFIs) earlier this year as the first step in allocating sites for offshore wind development. Responses to the RFIs will be evaluated based on the bidders' technical and financial ability to develop the sites. I do not know how meaningful Occidental's filing is, except to note that the firm was an unsuccessful bidder in New Jersey's competitive process to develop offshore wind. Its filing does not seem to pose a serious threat to Bluewater's ability to proceed with the regulatory process.


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