BOEM Awards Maryland Offshore Wind Lease Rights

US Wind, Inc. has been awarded provisional offshore wind development rights to an area off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland. The auction was the third BOEM auction resulting in a winning bid. The first, for an area off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, went to an affiliate of Deepwater Wind for $3.8 million; the second, for an area off the coast of Virginia, went to an affiliate of Dominion for $1.6 million.

The company is an affiliate of Renexia SpA, an Italian-based builder and operator of a 22.8 MW wind farm in Italy and mid-sized solar projects in the region and with a pipeline of other projects under development in North Africa and northern Europe. As such, it appears to be not just the highest bidder for OCS blocks but also the first company with European roots and offshore wind experience elsewhere awarded the provisional right to act as the developer of an offshore wind farm.

The project is expected to benefit from a suite of regulatory incentives enacted in the state of Maryland, somewhat unique to that state, continuing the apparent cooperation between states and the federal government.  No two offshore wind projects appear alike in this developing business.

Other than the divergent price tags, it’s interesting to note that of the three winners of BOEM auctions, we see a private-equity funded pure-play developer, an affiliate of a very large, regulated, vertically integrated utility and, now, an affiliate of a European construction conglomerate. Capital and construction expertise will inevitably include the cooperation among diverse participants like these for any power project. But even with this small sample size in the US, it is interesting to see the emergent diversity of project sponsors.

See here for BOEM’s information on the solicitation.

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