Historic Auction on Offshore Wind Energy Wraps Up

Six companies win right to build offshore of New York and New Jersey
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 25, 2022 4:40 PM CST
Historic Auction on Offshore Wind Energy Wraps Up
This photo shows land-based windmills in Atlantic City N.J. that help power a sewage-treatment plant.   (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

Six companies bid a combined $4.37 billion for the right to build wind energy projects on the ocean floor off New Jersey and New York in the US government's largest such auction in history, a federal agency said Friday. The auction by the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management involved six tracts off New York and New Jersey in an area known as the New York Bight, per the AP. When fully developed, these sites could provide enough energy to power 2 million homes, the agency said.

"This week's offshore wind sale makes one thing clear: The enthusiasm for the clean energy economy is undeniable and it’s here to stay,” US Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said. More than $1.5 billion worth of bids were received Wednesday, the first day of the auction. Bidding reached $3.2 billion at the end of Thursday, the second day. The tracts—factoring in this auction for nearly 500,000 acres and past auctions—will span nearly 1 million acres. President Biden has set a goal to install 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, generating enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes.

The administration has approved the nation’s first two commercial-scale offshore wind projects in federal waters: the 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind project off the Massachusetts coast and the 130-megawatt South Fork wind farm near New York’s Long Island. Not everyone is delighted with the scope and speed of offshore wind development. Homeowners groups in several spots in New Jersey are opposing the projects on environmental, economic and aesthetic grounds. And even some environmental groups are displeased. New Jersey’s Clean Ocean Action called the auction “too much, too fast.” Five of the six tracts are located off the central or southern coasts of New Jersey.

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The provisional winners announced Friday afternoon by the agency are: Bight Wind Holdings, which bid $1.1 billion on the largest tract, 125,964 acres off the coast of New Jersey's Long Beach Island; Attentive Energy, which bid $795 million on an 84,332-acre tract; Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Bight, which bid $780 million on 79,351 acres; OW Ocean Winds East, which bid $765 million on 71,522 acres; Invenergy Wind Offshore, which bid $645 million on 83,976 acres; and Mid-Atlantic Offshore Wind, which bid $285 million on 43,056 acres.

(More wind power stories.)

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