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Offshore wind energy auction in NJ, NY draws $4.37B in bids

February 25, 2022 Wayne Parry, Associated Press
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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 U.S. government’s largest such auction in history, a federal agency said Friday.

The auction by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management involved six tracts off New York and New Jersey in an area known as the New York Bight.

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,” U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said. “The investments we are seeing today will play an important role in delivering on the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to tackle the climate crisis and create thousands of good-paying, union jobs across the nation.”

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

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 (about 202,342 hectares) and past auctions — will span nearly 1 million acres.

President Joe 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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