Biden administration announces first competitive offshore wind energy lease sale

Biden administration is proposing its first competitive offshore wind lease sale, announcing plans to lease eight areas in the shallow waters between Long Island and the coast of New Jersey.

The proposed lease areas, in what is known as the New York Bight, could potentially generate up to 7 GW of power to supply electricity for more than 2.6 million homes, the US Department of the Interior said in a June 11 release.

The Biden administration has set a target to add 30 GW of offshore wind power to the US energy mix by 2030 and in May approved the first major offshore wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts.

“Today’s announcement of new proposed lease stipulations puts a priority on creating and sustaining good-paying union jobs as we build a clean energy economy,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said.

The June 11 announcement follows a recent slew of regulatory actions in the offshore wind space. Officials announced an agreement in May to advance offshore wind development in California, and this week Interior declared its intent to assess offshore wind potential in the Gulf of Mexico. In total, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, an agency within Interior, has offered eight competitive lease sales, issuing 17 active commercial offshore wind leases along the East Coast.

“The lease areas identified today will not only support the generation of approximately 7,500 MW of offshore wind energy, helping New York meet its nation-leading goal of 9,000 MW by 2035, but also unlock the potential for 10,000 jobs and billions of dollars in private investments in New York alone,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

The publication of a proposed sale notice for the leases kicked off a 60-day public comment period. The agency will consider those comments in determining whether to issue a final sale notice and setting a date for a potential lease sale. New potential bidders must submit required materials by Aug. 13 to be eligible to bid on a lease in the New York Bight.

BOEM is also soliciting feedback on proposed lease stipulations, including a requirement to “make every reasonable effort to enter into a project labor agreement covering the construction of any project proposed for the lease area,” according to the release.

“This announcement further demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to develop 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and goes hand in hand with the concerted efforts by the surrounding states to become leaders in capturing the economic and environmental benefits of this growing resource,” Laura Morton, senior director of policy and regulatory affairs for offshore wind at the American Clean Power Association, said in a statement.