This is exciting for at least two reasons. The first is that it is unlikely to run into nearly as much opposition as the embattled Cape Wind project. Cape wind tested all kinds of siting issues which this lease addresses preemptively and/or are irrelevant in this case. The second is that it is in much deeper water characteristic of potential sites up and down the Eastern US. Even though this is being done in Europe already, doing it here will dramatically reduce the perceived risk.
Also of interest is that they are planning to use very large turbines. Progress on the size of turbines and the economic benefits of scaling had slowed to a crawl. If the US begins a rapid build-out off-shore then there will be substantial impetus to push to larger more economical turbines. Going much larger for land based does not make sense because it is hard to move components so it seems that about 2.5MW for land based is proving to be a sweet spot.
And just what is the potential for Off-shore wind? The map below lays it out pretty clearly. For perspective 1GW is about the power produced by a nuclear power plant. The US uses between 500GW and 1000GW depending upon time of year. If you want to be fair you should take the numbers in the table and multiply by 1/3 to take into account the fact that the wind is not always blowing.
For general information about offshore wind see the BOEM site.
The Europeans routinely deploy wind in
Nice power point on the fundamentals of wind power from the MIT wind energy group.
UPDATE: I ran across this Navigant study on offshore wind power, see it here.
NREL Study of offshore wind HERE .
Slow but encouraging progress on floating turbines .
Offshore, offshore wind, off shore wind, off shore