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Thursday, July 25, 2024

US Plans 12 Offshore Wind Auctions Over Five Years

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

April 24, 2024

© Alexisaj / Adobe Stock

© Alexisaj / Adobe Stock

President Joe Biden's administration unveiled plans on Wednesday to hold up to a dozen auctions of offshore wind development rights through 2028, including four before the end of this year.

The schedule will help companies, states and others plan for projects that require massive amounts of investment and infrastructure, the Interior Department said in a statement.

"Our offshore wind leasing schedule will provide predictability to help developers and communities plan ahead and will provide the confidence needed to continue building on the tremendous offshore wind supply chain and manufacturing investments that we've already seen," Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement.

The administration is determined to support the nascent U.S. offshore wind industry at a time when projects have been plagued by rising costs tied to inflation, interest rates and supply chain constraints.

Just this week, New York state stalled three major planned offshore wind farms.

According to Interior's schedule, this year the agency will hold lease sales for areas in the Central Atlantic, Gulf of Maine, Gulf of Mexico and Oregon.

In 2025, it will hold a single sale in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2026, it will hold an auction in the Central Atlantic. In 2027, two sales are scheduled - the Gulf of Mexico and New York Bight. In 2028, Interior aims to hold four auctions -- in California, an undetermined U.S. territory, the Gulf of Maine and Hawaii.

The timing of the sales is linked to the administration's five-year schedule to offer acreage to oil and gas companies for offshore development. A provision in Biden's landmark climate change law, the Inflation Reduction Act, requires that Interior must offer at least 60 million acres for oil and gas leasing a year before issuing an offshore wind lease.

The U.S. last held an oil and gas auction in December of last year and will not hold another one until 2025 under a scaled back five-year drilling plan finalized last year.

Interior has held just four offshore wind auctions since Biden took office in 2021. The last one, in the Gulf of Mexico last August, attracted lackluster industry interest.

(Reuters - Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by David Gregorio)