Statement: Biden administration goes big on offshore wind with NY Bight lease auction

Action will open up 480,000 acres off Sandy Hook & Jersey Shore to offshore wind
For Immediate Release

TRENTON, N.J.- Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced Wednesday that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold a wind energy auction on Feb. 23 for more than 480,000 acres in the New York Bight. This will be the first offshore wind energy auction under the Biden administration.

The auction will allow offshore wind developers to bid on six lease areas – the most areas ever offered in a single auction, according to BOEM’s Final Sale Notice. Leases offered in this sale, which are located off the Jersey Shore, ranging from off Sandy Hook to Long Beach Island and could be as far out on the Outer Continental Shelf as 70 miles off the coastline, could result in 5.6 to 7 gigawatts of offshore wind energy. That would be enough energy to power more than 2 million homes. As offshore wind technology continues to advance, these areas will create the potential for clean renewable offshore wind power close to the energy demands of the greater New Jersey region.

Secretary Haaland was joined by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul in outlining their shared vision for developing a robust offshore wind domestic supply chain that will deliver benefits to residents, including underserved communities, in New Jersey, New York and the surrounding region. 

Environment New Jersey Research & Policy Center  is Environment America Research & Policy Center’s state partner in the Garden State.

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

“New Jersey has long led the nation on offshore wind initiatives and is now poised to expand its role. The potential this clean energy goldmine off the Jersey Shore provides could be a game changer. Unlocking this swath of area in the New York Bight is pivotal to not only reaching Gov. Murphy’s goal of 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035 but also going beyond that. We have more than enough wind blowing off the Jersey Shore to meet our current and future electricity needs, and we should be thinking big on how to power our state with clean energy to meet the 50% renewable energy by 2030 mandate.

“Clean renewable energy is the solution our state and country desperately needs. As extreme weather events become more common and our coastline becomes ever more vulnerable, it’s clear the time is now to turn away from fossil fuels and toward the promise of offshore wind. With the potential to power 2.6 million homes here in the Garden State, these lease areas stand to revolutionize how New Jerseyans get their power. This collaboration aims to serve as a model for future engagement and continues to cement the reality that the United States – and New Jersey – needs to lead on offshore wind to mitigate climate change’s impacts. We urge the Murphy administration to build on this collaboration and continue its leadership making New Jersey the national leader on offshore wind.” 

 Hannah Read, Environment America Research & Policy Center’s federal clean energy advocate issued the following response: 

“The U.S. coastlines are chock-full of clean renewable offshore wind just waiting to be harnessed, and with each new project or lease, America is one step closer to realizing the benefits of using it to power our lives. With offshore wind alone, the Atlantic region could produce almost four times as much electricity as that part of the country used in 2019. This enormously abundant resource will be a difference-maker for our energy system, fostering resiliency and a healthier future for generations to come. Holding these leases is a crucial progression towards accomplishing the Biden administration’s national goal to reach 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, and it’s exciting to see the pieces start falling into place.”