Although the United States currently has only one operating offshore wind farm — Deepwater Wind’s 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island state waters — interest in the industry has come a long way. Three years ago, a federal auction for the same area off Martha’s Vineyard leased last week failed to attract significant interest, according to the New York Times.
The winning bids yielded more than $1,000 per acre, while the latest offshore drilling lease auction in the Gulf of Mexico held in August yielded about $222 per acre for over 800,000 acres.
The policies of Northeast states have been increasingly encouraging offshore wind development, as the states have been pursuing power purchase agreements (PPA) for hundreds of megawatts of the renewable resource to help power densely populated coastal cities.
The escalation in the site auctions for offshore wind had already taken people by surprise when a single site broke $40 million in 2016, according to Walter Musial, principal engineer and manager of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s offshore wind program.