Interior announces Virginia offshore wind lease sale

The Monday announcement could hint that Interior is ready to charge ahead with offshore wind.

Currently, there are no commercial offshore wind projects being built in the U.S. The Obama administration is trying to change that — the president’s climate plan pushes for 10,000 megawatts of new renewable energy generation on federal lands by 2020 — but has urged patience.

The Virginia effort comes as Interior is nearing the July 31 auction for the nation’s first commercial offshore wind sale off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Jewell has said the interest in that first lease sale would offer clues as to what pace Interior should proceed with auctions.

Jewell has cautioned that it will take time to develop a domestic offshore wind industry. Financing the costly projects has proven difficult, and there are regulatory hurdles to surmount.

— This story was last updated at 2:33 p.m.