The US Offshore Wind Auction Draws Record-Breaking Bids

The largest-ever US sale of offshore wind development rights – for regions off the shores of New York and New Jersey – garnered record-setting bids on Wednesday from firms hoping to be a part of President Joe Biden’s ambition to establish a flourishing new domestic sector, according to Aljazeera.

It is the first offshore wind lease auction under Biden, who has declared offshore wind growth a cornerstone of his strategy to combat global warming and decarbonize the US electrical grid by 2035 while creating thousands of jobs.

According to updates released on the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) website, the auction was on course to comfortably surpass the $405 million US offshore wind auction record established in 2018.

After 11 rounds of bidding, the winning price was $250 million for a single lease 51.5 kilometers (32 miles) off the coast of New Jersey. The government had designated the 114 acres (46 hectares) tract – the largest offered in the sale – as capable of providing enough electricity to power more than 485,000 dwellings.

The previous record price paid for an offshore wind lease in the United States was $135.1 million in 2018, for a lease off the coast of Massachusetts.

As of Wednesday afternoon, high bids in the other five auction locations varied from $12.6 million to $134.3 million.

The size of the auction is a significant step forward for offshore wind generation in the United States, which has lagged behind European nations in developing the technology. The United States now has two modest offshore wind facilities off the shores of Rhode Island and Virginia, as well as two other commercial-scale projects that have just been cleared for development.

BOEM, which has not hosted a wind lease auction since 2018, is selling 488,201 acres (197,568 hectares) in the shallow seas between Long Island, New York, and New Jersey, known as the New York Bight.

Due to concerns over the development’s influence on commercial fishing and military interests, the area is 22% smaller than what was originally planned last year.

According to government records, the sale’s 25 permitted bidders include Equinor ASA, Avangrid Inc, BP Plc, and Eletricite de France SA. Each bidder is only allowed to win one lease.

According to the administration, the energy provided by the newly available regions might one day power roughly two million houses.

The Biden administration established a goal last year of constructing 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power along the country’s coasts by 2030. Much of the present development is taking place in waters off the coasts of the northeastern states.