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Statement: Biggest offshore wind lease auction in U.S. history “showcases booming demand” for clean power

For Immediate Release

TRENTON –  The Department of the Interior held a record-breaking offshore wind lease auction Wednesday for six separate areas in the New York Bight that will provide clean electricity to New York and New Jersey. The lease sales bids so far reached more than $1.5 billion and cover more than 460,000 acres. In total, the parcels could generate up to seven gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy, which is enough to power over two million homes. The auction will continue tomorrow morning starting at 9 a.m. 

Both the number of offshore wind leases and the bids themselves will set records for a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) auction. These totals far surpass the numbers from  BOEM’s first auction off the Jersey Shore in November 2015. That sale, which leased a similarly sized area off Atlantic City, drew only three bidders for two wind energy areas and yielded a combined price of less than $3 million.

With the sale, both New Jersey and New York as well as the Biden administration take a big step closer to reaching their offshore wind goals. New York and New Jersey have the two largest offshore wind state goals in the country, committing to 9,000 megawatts (MW) and 7,500 MW respectively. The Biden administration has set a goal of reaching 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and hopes to hold up to seven lease sales by 2025 as part of that goal. 

Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center Director Doug O’Malley issued the following statement on the announcement:

“Today’s auction shows that the offshore wind industry has truly arrived. This was more than a billion dollar day for offshore wind and proves that clean renewable energy off the Jersey Shore is poised to enter a boom period. This shouldn’t be surprising because offshore wind is a gold mine of untapped clean energy and represents the best way to meet the Biden and Murphy administrations’ climate commitments to combat the impacts of climate change. Now that we’re seeing the demand, next up we must ensure that we responsibly develop offshore wind quickly. Once we do, we’ll be able to green our region’s electric grid and cut the cord with fossil fuels.” 

Environment America Research & Policy Center’s Federal Clean Energy Advocate Hannah Read issued the following statement:

“We’re starting to see an energy renaissance in America – one that promises to repower our lives, in part, with clean renewable energy from wind off our coasts. Offshore wind alone holds the potential to meet nearly double our nation’s current electricity use, and it’s high time we took advantage of this overwhelmingly abundant resource. And offshore wind isn’t just abundant – it also comes with the promise of cleaner air and a more livable climate.  

“Today’s auction showcases the booming demand for clean renewable energy here in the U.S. Thanks to broad public support, ambitious state commitments and the Biden administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, the domino effect of offshore wind development is now underway. Offshore wind is the big new player in town, and if today’s sale is any indication, we’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the near future.”