Bluewater Wind recently received the first commercial lease to build a wind farm in federal waters off the Rehoboth Beach coast.
"Delaware has remarkable offshore wind potential, and harnessing this clean, domestic energy resource will create jobs, increase our energy security and strengthen our nation's economic competitiveness," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar after announcing the lease Oct. 23.
The lease grants Bluewater Wind Delaware LLC, a subsidiary of power company NRG, the exclusive right to submit one or more plans for wind development in the leased area. The area covers more than 96,000 acres and is situated about 11 nautical miles off the Delaware coast.
The lease comes with a price – $300,000 a year – but Bluewater/NRG officials believe the lease ultimately adds value to Bluewater, which is particularly pertinent as NRG officials seek a company to acquire Bluewater.
"We believe that this commercial lease, the first from the Department of Interior's "Smart from the Start" program, will make the asset more attractive to potential partners and investors," said David Gaier, spokesman for NRG.
In 2008, Bluewater Wind made news as the first company to sign a power contract providing energy from offshore wind. Their plan was to build a 120-turbine wind farm off of Rehoboth Beach providing up to 200 megawatts to Delmarva Power.
Bluewater encountered difficulty securing financing for the project and missed key deadlines in 2011 required to keep the contract viable. Bluewater cancelled its power purchase agreement Dec. 27 with Delmarva Power and forfeited $2 million by terminating its contact. Delmarva Power officials said the $2 million would be credited to Delmarva customers.