Statement: Record-breaking U.S. offshore wind lease auction elicits over $4 billion in bids, showcases booming demand for clean power

Historic bids to produce renewable energy off Jersey Shore could power close to 2 million homes
For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON –  The Department of the Interior concluded a record-breaking offshore wind lease auction Friday for 488,000 acres in the New York Bight that will provide clean electricity to New York and New Jersey. The winning bids for six separate areas totaled $4.37 billion. These six parcels combined could generate up to 7 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy, which is enough to power about 2 million homes. The auction concluded Friday afternoon after 64 rounds of bidding.

Both the number of offshore wind leases and the winning bid numbers smashed records for a Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) auction and surpassed valuations for comparable offshore drilling leases. For comparison, BOEM’s first auction off the Jersey Shore in November 2015, which leased a similarly sized area off Atlantic City, drew only three bidders for two wind energy areas and the winning bids totaled less than $3 million.

With the sale, New Jersey, New York and the federal government take a big step closer to reaching their offshore wind goals. New York and New Jersey have the two largest state-level commitments to using offshore wind in the country; they plan to build to a capacity of  9,000 megawatts (MW) and 7,500 MW, respectively. The Biden administration has set a goal of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and hopes to hold as many as seven lease sales by 2025 to achieve that goal. 

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

“These unprecedented bids show the offshore wind industry has truly arrived. These eye-popping valuations send the market a clear signal that offshore wind is poised to become the key driver of clean, renewable energy on the East Coast. Offshore wind energy is now drawing even more money than fossil fuels, and it marks a historic turning point in our transition toward renewable energy. Climate change is making our sea levels rise, but ocean winds can help us power the fight to reduce climate pollutants. 

“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 move off dirty energy. Once we tap offshore wind, we’ll be able to green our region’s electric grid and cut the cord with fossil fuels.” 

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

“Welcome to America’s clean energy renaissance – one that promises to repower our lives, in part, with clean renewable energy from wind off our coasts. Even if we electrified almost everything, offshore wind alone could power 90 percent of our nation’s electricity use, and it’s high time we took advantage of this overwhelmingly abundant resource. Offshore wind isn’t just abundant – it also comes with the promise of cleaner air and a more livable climate. 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.” 

“The significance of today’s auction cannot be overstated, and showcases the booming demand for clean, renewable energy in the U.S. Today marks the day offshore wind evolved from a burgeoning industry into a major player in the U.S. energy system. The record-breaking sum for these lease areas sends a clear message of confidence in the future of offshore wind. If today’s sale is any indication, we’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the near future.” 

Image courtesy of BOEM via Twitter: https://twitter.com/BOEM/status/1496485260380549123