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US sets offshore wind auction for Central Atlantic, projecting up to 6.3 GW potential


In a significant move towards a sustainable future, the Biden-Harris administration has announced an offshore wind energy lease sale in the Central Atlantic. This initiative, slated for August 14, 2024, marks a crucial step in advancing America’s clean energy economy. Spearheaded by the Department of the Interior, the auction will involve areas managed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) capable of generating up to 6.3 gigawatts of renewable energy. This capacity is sufficient to power approximately 2.2 million homes.

Supporting the clean energy economy

The announcement reinforces the administration’s commitment to expanding offshore wind energy opportunities. Secretary Deb Haaland emphasized the administration’s dedication to using American innovation to deliver reliable and affordable power while addressing the climate crisis. “Across America’s coasts, we continue to see excitement and momentum for the Biden-Harris administration’s pursuit of a clean energy future,” said Haaland. “We are taking action to jumpstart America’s offshore wind energy industry and using American innovation to deliver reliable, affordable power to homes and businesses, while also addressing the climate crisis. As we do, we are working collaboratively with states, Tribes and stakeholders to ensure we are making smart decisions and efficient use of our nation’s offshore resources."

BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein echoed this sentiment, stating, “We are excited to announce this sale and underscore our commitment to explore additional areas in the Central Atlantic for potential offshore wind energy development. BOEM will continue to work with all ocean users to ensure offshore wind energy proceeds in an environmentally responsible manner.”

Strategic lease areas

The Final Sale Notice (FSN), set to be published today, details two primary lease areas: one offshore Delaware and Maryland, and another offshore Virginia. Lease Area A-2 comprises 101,443 acres and is situated 26 nautical miles from Delaware Bay. Lease Area C-1 spans 176,505 acres and lies 35 nautical miles from the Chesapeake Bay. Seventeen companies have qualified to participate in the sale, reflecting substantial interest and potential competition.

Bidding credits and environmental commitment

BOEM is incorporating several stipulations and bidding credits to promote workforce development and environmental responsibility. These include:

- A 12.5% bidding credit for bidders who support workforce training or develop a domestic supply chain for the offshore wind industry.

- Another 12.5% bidding credit for contributions to fisheries compensatory mitigation funds, addressing potential impacts on commercial and recreational fisheries.

- Stipulations that lessees make every reasonable effort to enter into a project labor agreement covering the construction stage of any project for the lease areas; communication plans for Tribes, agencies, and fisheries; and semi-annual reports on engagement activities with Tribes and communities.

Advancing offshore wind projects

The Biden-Harris administration's efforts are part of a broader strategy to build a resilient clean energy economy. Since taking office, the administration has approved eight commercial-scale offshore wind projects and conducted four offshore wind lease sales. Looking ahead, a schedule of up to 12 additional lease sales is planned through 2028, demonstrating a long-term commitment to renewable energy development.

Intergovernmental collaboration

BOEM will continue to collaborate with various stakeholders through the Central Atlantic Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force. This collaboration aims to explore additional potential areas for future offshore wind leasing. Recent agreements with the State of Maryland exemplify ongoing efforts to evaluate new wind energy areas and support the development of offshore wind projects.

This historic initiative signifies a pivotal moment in America’s transition to a clean energy future, aligning with the Biden-Harris administration’s Investing in America agenda and creating substantial economic and environmental benefits.

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