Interior to auction 344,000 acres offshore New Jersey for wind energy development; 13 energy companies qualified to bid in lease sale
As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to develop domestic clean energy resources, cut carbon pollution and create American jobs, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
(BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper announced
that 343,833 acres offshore New Jersey will be offered for commercial wind energy development in a competitive lease sale on November 9, 2015.
If fully developed, the New Jersey Wind Energy Area could support at least 3,400 megawatts of commercial wind generation, enough to power an estimated 1.2 million homes, according to the Department of Energy
’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
“On the heels of this summer’s historic ‘steel-in-the-water’ milestone for the nation’s first commercial offshore wind farm, today’s announcement marks another major step in standing up a sustainable offshore wind program for Atlantic coast communities,” Secretary Jewell said. “This effort took significant engagement and cooperation with New Jersey and other stakeholders to advance clean energy development and reduce potential use conflicts, which moves us closer to harnessing the enormous potential of wind energy along the Atlantic coast.”
BOEM has awarded nine commercial offshore wind leases, including seven through the competitive lease sale process (two in an area offshore Rhode Island-Massachusetts, another two offshore Massachusetts, two offshore Maryland and one offshore Virginia). These lease sales have generated about $14.5 million in winning bids for more than 700,000 acres in federal waters.
In July, Jewell and Director Hopper joined Rhode Island officials to celebrate the start of construction on Deepwater Wind’s $225 million, 30-megawatt offshore wind project. The facility, which will provide electricity to Block Island and Rhode Island mainland consumers, required Interior Department approval because part of its submerged transmission cable crosses federal waters.
“We are pleased to see sustained commercial interest in offshore wind development,” said Director Hopper. “We will continue to work closely with members of the New Jersey Renewable Energy Task Force to ensure that our intergovernmental partners remain informed on the next steps proposed by the winners of this auction.”
To date, BOEM has determined that the following energy development companies are legally, technically and financially qualified to participate in the upcoming New Jersey lease sale: Convalt Energy LLC, GSOE I LLC, EDF Renewable Energy Development Inc., Energy Management Inc., Fishermen’s Energy LLC, Green Sail Energy LLC, IBERDROLA RENEWABLES Inc., New Jersey Offshore Wind LLC, OffshoreMW LLC, RES America Developments Inc., Sea Breeze Energy LLC, US Mainstream Renewable Power (Offshore) Inc. and U.S. Wind Inc.
The New Jersey Wind Energy Area starts about seven nautical miles from shore.
Under the terms of the Final Sale Notice, which will be published in the Federal Register on September 25, the New Jersey Wind Energy Area will be auctioned as two leases. Lease OCS-A 0498 (i.e., South Lease Area) consists of 160,480 acres; and Lease OCS-A 0499 (i.e., North Lease Area) consists of 183,353 acres.
Per the Final Sale Notice, BOEM said it will consider monetary and nonmonetary factors (i.e., whether a bidder has obtained a Power Purchase Agreement or New Jersey Offshore Renewable Energy Certificate award) in determining the winners. The notice further describes these requirements, as well as other relevant sale items, such as deadlines and milestones for bidders, the area available for leasing, lease provisions and conditions, auction details, criteria for evaluating bids, award procedures and lease execution.