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Secretary of the Department of Interior (DOI) Ken Salazar has issued five exploratory leases for renewable wind energy production on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), offshore New Jersey and Delaware.

Salazar issued the exploratory leases - the first of their kind issued by the federal government - to Bluewater Wind New Jersey Energy LLC, Fishermen's Energy of New Jersey LLC, Deepwater Wind LLC and Bluewater Wind Delaware LLC.

The leases were developed under an interim policy and authorize data gathering activities, allowing for the construction of meteorological towers on the OCS from six to 18 miles offshore to collect site-specific data on wind speed, intensity and direction.

The final regulatory framework for OCS renewable energy development, which becomes effective June 29, regularizes the process and is expected to bring certainty to the industry in terms of how applications for OCS wind, solar and hydrokinetic resources will be addressed, according to Salazar.

The data collected under these leases will be shared with DOI's Minerals Management Service and used to inform and support future commercial renewable energy projects, such as wind farms, to help coastal states meet mandated renewable energy portfolio standards.

New Jersey is pursing the development of offshore wind energy through various state initiatives. In Delaware, Delmarva Power signed a power purchase agreement with Bluewater Wind for up to 200 MW in June 2008, and the pact was ratified by the state in July 2008.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of the Interior

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