80,000 acres off Ocean City leased for offshore wind power

The U.S. Department of the Interior says it has auctioned some 80,000 acres off Maryland for wind energy development.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management held an auction on Tuesday. US Wind Inc., a subsidiary of Italian renewable energy developer Renexia SpA, submitted the winning bid of $8.7 million.

The Maryland Wind Energy Area is located, at its closest point, about 10 nautical miles off Ocean City. Federal officials say When fully built, the wind energy area could generate enough energy to power about 300,000 homes.

“We need a jobs agenda to match our climate challenge,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a statement. “Expanding renewable energy, like we’re doing here, will bring Maryland’s vision for clean energy one step closer to reality and clearly set our State apart on the country’s renewable energy landscape.”

U.S. Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell called the auction a “major achievement” in her statement.