Dominion filed with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to be among the bidders seeking to develop wind turbines to generate electricity on nearly 80,000 acres off the coast of Maryland.

The area will be auctioned in two separate leases. The North Lease area totals 32,737 acres and the South Lease Area consists of 46,970 acres.

Dominion was the successful bidder in the bureau’s auction in September 2013 for 112,799 acres, 24 miles off the coast of Virginia.

"Offshore wind shows the most promise for building utility-sized renewable energy projects in the Mid-Atlantic region," said Mary Doswell, senior vice president for Dominion’s Alternative Energy Solutions unit. "The bureau’s Wind Energy Areas offer both the consistent winds and the acreage to develop these large-scale projects. Given the proximity to our leased area off of Virginia and the excellent port in Hampton Roads, there should be economies of scale that could benefit both regions."

Dominion’s filing and those of other interested bidders will be reviewed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to determine which are financially qualified to participate in the auction. The auction was announced in a proposed sale notice that the bureau issued in December and the deadline for filing comments and qualification packages is February 18. A date for the auction has not been set, but is expected in 2014.

Dominion has received two offshore wind energy technology awards from the U.S. Department of Energy. The first is a $500,000 grant with a goal to find innovative ways to reduce the cost of offshore wind generation by 25 percent and the second is a $4 million cost share for the initial development of an offshore wind turbine demonstration project.

Dominion has completed the initial development of its demonstration project for the Virginia Offshore Wind Technology Advancement Program.

The company is one of six firms being considered for a $47m grant to complete development of their demonstration project. If successful, the company would continue advancing its plan to build two 6-megawatt wind turbines off the Virginia coast, adjacent to the area it has leased from the bureau for commercial development.