The U.S. Department of Interior has announced the auction of 344,000 offshore acres off the coast of New Jersey for development of offshore wind projects. The lease sale will take place on November 9, 2015. Should the area be fully capitalized, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates at least 3,400 MW of wind power could be developed.
“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,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “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.”
To date, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (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.
BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper said of the efforts to expand offshore wind in the U.S., “We are pleased to see sustained commercial interest in offshore wind development. 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.”
The New Jersey Wind Energy Area starts about seven nautical miles from shore. Click here to view a map of the Wind Energy Area.