Department of Interior looks at offshore wind development in New York Bight

Published on June 15, 2021 by Dave Kovaleski

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The U.S. Department of the Interior announced last week a proposed sale for offshore wind development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the New York Bight – an area of shallow waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast.

This would be the first competitive offshore wind lease sale for the Biden-Harris administration, which aims to install 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. The proposed lease areas have the potential to unlock over 7 gigawatts of offshore wind energy.

“Climate change poses an existential threat — not just to our environment, but to our health, our communities, and our economic well-being. The Biden-Harris administration recognizes the urgency of this moment, and the development of renewable energy resources is an important piece of addressing this reality,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said. “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.”

The sale notice by the DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) includes eight lease areas in the New York Bight that could be auctioned for commercial wind energy development.

“The New York Bight is a prime example of how regional cooperation, partnerships, and stakeholder feedback can come together to identify areas suitable for offshore wind development,” BOEM Director Amanda Lefton said.

The proposed sale is open for a 60-day public comment period. Comments will be made available to the public and considered before deciding whether to publish a Final Sale Notice, which will announce the time and date of the lease sale.

The American Clean Power Association (ACP) applauded the move.

“American Clean Power welcomes the proposed offshore wind lease sale in the New York Bight as a key step in providing clean energy to the region, boosting job creation, and stimulating massive investment into the regional economy. This announcement further demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to develop 30 gigawatts 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. Offshore wind development in the New York Bight could attract almost $46 billion in capital investments and support up to 32,000 jobs,” Laura Morton, ACP senior director of policy and regulatory affairs for offshore wind, said.

The Biden-Harris administration has already approved the construction and operation of the Vineyard Wind project, the first large-scale project in federal waters. Also, Revolution Wind offshore Rhode Island and Ocean Wind offshore New Jersey are in the review process. Further, it has an agreement in place for offshore wind development off California’s northern and central coasts. It is also assessing potential renewable energy opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico. Overall, BOEM has held 8 competitive lease sales and issued 17 active commercial offshore wind leases on the Atlantic from Massachusetts to North Carolina.