Big Interest in Wind Energy Off the Mid-Atlantic Coast at Largest US Auction | Business

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ (AP) — The largest offshore wind farm auction in the nation’s history is drawing strong corporate interest, indicating potential in the industry.

As of noon on Thursday, the second day of the auction by the United States Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, bids had reached $2 billion on six stretches of ocean floor off New York and New Jersey in an area known as New York Bight.

When fully developed, these sites could provide enough energy to power 2 million homes, the agency said.

More than $1.5 billion in bids were received Wednesday, the first day of the auction, and officials said it was possible the auction could extend to a third day, given the strong response so far.

The response to the auction “shows that the offshore wind industry has really arrived,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, adding that it “proves that clean renewable energy off the coast of New Jersey are about to enter a boom period.”

By noon, more than $1.95 billion in bids had been submitted across the six lots.

The auction of nearly 500,000 acres (approximately 202,342 hectares), when combined with previous auctions, will cover nearly one million acres. It was the largest such auction in the country’s history, BOEM said.

President Joe Biden has set a goal to install 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, generating enough electricity to power more than 10 million homes.

The administration approved the nation’s first two commercial-scale offshore wind projects in federal waters: the 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts and the 130-megawatt South Fork Wind Farm near Long Island in New York.

Not everyone is thrilled with the scale and speed of offshore wind development. Homeowners’ groups in several locations in New Jersey oppose the projects on environmental, economic, and aesthetic grounds.

And even some environmental groups are unhappy. New Jersey’s Clean Ocean Action called the auction “too much, too fast.”

“COA supports responsible and reasonable offshore wind power, but it is reckless privatization and will not ensure the protection of marine life, including whales, dolphins, turtles and the hundreds of others. species that inhabit the ocean,” the group said.

Cindy Zipf, the group’s executive director, said the bidding area was five times larger than New York City.

Five of the six zones are located off the central or southern coasts of New Jersey.

The largest, at more than 114,000 acres (about 46,134 hectares), is located off Long Beach Island and could generate enough electricity to power nearly half a million homes. , according to the Office of Ocean Energy.

The bureau said it would release the identities of successful bidders once the auction is closed.

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