Offshore wind energy near the Big Apple draws intense bidding

An auction for the rights to develop a wind farm in federal waters starting 12 miles off Long Island, N.Y., shattered records today. After 33 rounds and more than a day of bidding, Statoil emerged as the winner with a bid of nearly $42.5 million.

“New York has shown the promise of offshore wind power for energy developers,” said Nancy Sopko, Manager, Advocacy and Federal Legislative Affairs, for the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “Combining top-notch wind resources, strong demand from some of our biggest cities, and a firmly committed state government, New York has the winning recipe to build these job-creating power plants.”

The auction was held by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Bidding by six initial parties was halted for the day yesterday at 6:30 pm and resumed this morning at 8:30 am. The record-shattering final bid of $42,469,725 was placed by Statoil Wind US LLC for the rights to develop an area of nearly 80,000 acres. “This proves there is real appetite and demand for new ocean energy opportunities in American waters,” said Sopko.

“Investment from such an established player in the offshore oil and gas industry illustrates how offshore wind is the next frontier in energy development,” Sopko said. “Over the past decade there has been consistent progress toward the realization of offshore wind power’s potential in America. The completion of today’s auction increases the strong momentum building to develop more of this ocean energy resource.”

Completion of this auction also brings New York state a step closer to meeting its goal of generating 50 percent of its energy from renewables by 2030, Sopko said: “Offshore wind is well suited to helping the state meet its goal, because the turbines capture strong, consistent winds alongside America’s largest population centers.”

The auction results follow the historic completion of America’s first offshore wind farm near Block Island, R.I., whose turbines started spinning and sending power to the grid on Monday. “In the long run, the American economy is the big winner,” said Sopko. “This brand new offshore energy opportunity will contribute to thousands of skilled jobs in construction, manufacturing and operations that can be generated nationwide.”