Late in February, the U.S. completed the most successful offshore wind lease auction in history. The auction for rights to develop offshore wind in the New York Bight brought in a record $4.37 billion from the companies bidding for them.
The New York Bight is an area of ocean off the coasts of New York and New Jersey that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has divided into six lease areas for offshore wind development. It covers a total of 480,000 acres. The more than $4 billion secured in the auction is more than three times the revenue received from all U.S. offshore oil and gas lease auctions over the past five years.
Five out of the six winning bids have European connections in the form of various partnerships. Europe has a far more advanced offshore wind market than the U.S. with a total of 25 GW of installations as of 2020. Winning bidders included participation by RWE from Germany, British-owned National Grid, and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, among others. Chicago-based Invenergy was the only American company without a European partner to have a winning bid.
The expected installed capacity for the 6 leased areas in the New York Bight is expected to be between 5.6 and 7 GW, enough to power 2 million homes. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said capacity could be even higher.
The successful action has set the tone and expectations for auctions to come. BOEM has six more offshore wind auctions planned over the next three years. Forthcoming auctions are for areas of the Carolinas, Northern and Central California, the Gulf of Mexico, the Central Atlantic, Oregon, and the Gulf of Maine.
New York Bight: 5 takeaways from the record-breaking offshore wind auction
Photo, posted August 13, 2013, courtesy of Larry via Flickr.
Earth Wise is a production of WAMC Northeast Public Radio.