Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced today that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold a wind auction February 23 for more than 480,000 acres offshore New York and New Jersey, in the area known as the New York Bight.
The news came the day after BOEM announced that it is preparing a draft environmental assessment (EA) to consider the impacts of potential offshore wind leasing in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.The area that will be reviewed in the EA includes almost 30 million acres just west of the Mississippi River to the Texas/Mexican border.
FIRST OFFSHORE WIND LEASE SALE UNDER BIDEN ADMINISTRATION
The New York Bight offshore wind lease sale will be the first offshore wind lease sale under the Biden administration. In announcing it, Secretary Haaland was joined by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, and Liz Shuler, President of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.
The Feb. 23 auction will allow offshore wind developers to bid on six lease areas – the most areas ever offered in a single auction—as described in BOEM’s Final Sale Notice. Leases offered in this sale could result in 5.6 to 7 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, enough to power nearly 2 million homes.
“The Biden-Harris administration has made tackling the climate crisis a centerpiece of our agenda, and offshore wind opportunities like the New York Bight present a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fight climate change and create good-paying, union jobs in the United States,” said Secretary Haaland. “We are at an inflection point for domestic offshore wind energy development. We must seize this moment—and we must do it together.”
The Biden-Harris administration’s goal to install 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 is complemented by state offshore wind policies and actions throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Collectively, New York and New Jersey have set the largest regional offshore wind target in the U.S., aiming to install over 16 GW of offshore wind by 2035.
“Offshore wind holds the tremendous promise for our future in terms of climate change, economic growth, strengthening our work force, and job creation,” said Murphy. “New Jersey is already committed to creating nearly one-quarter of the nation’s offshore wind-generation market and these transformative projects are proof that climate action can drive investments in infrastructure and manufacturing, while creating good-paying, union jobs. By acting on this this shared vision, we can promote our joint offshore wind goals, and deliver benefits to residents of both states, particularly those in overburdened communities. Together, with this critical cooperation with the Biden-Harris administration and our state partners, we will turn this vision of becoming a leader in the global offshore wind market into a reality.”
“Here in New York, we are already living with the effects of climate change through extreme weather that pose a direct threat to our way of life,” Hochul said. “We must chart an ambitious path toward a cleaner energy economy now more than ever, and today’s milestone further highlights New York’s commitment to reaching it’s offshore wind goals. This effort will require collaboration at all levels, and I applaud the Biden administration for their action and thank Secretary Haaland and BOEM, as well as Murphy, for their partnership as we build on New York’s offshore wind energy development.”
The New York Bight offshore wind auction will include several innovative lease stipulations designed to promote the development of a robust domestic U.S. supply chain for offshore wind and enhance engagement with tribes, the commercial fishing industry, other ocean users, and underserved communities.
The stipulations will also advance flexibility in transmission planning and make use of project labor agreements throughout the construction of offshore wind projects. Stipulations include incentives to source major components domestically—such as blades, turbines, and foundations—and to enter into project labor agreements to ensure projects are union-built.
The sale notice also requires lessees to identify tribes, underserved communities and other ocean users who could be affected by offshore wind development. The Interior Department will hold companies accountable for improving their engagement, communication and transparency with these communities.
BOEM initially asked for information and nominations of commercial interest for 1,735,154 acres in the Bight. Based on the bureau’s review of scientific data, and extensive input from the commercial fishing industry, tribes, partnering agencies, key stakeholders, and the public, BOEM reduced the acreage by 72% to avoid conflicts with ocean users and minimize environmental impacts.