US launches biggest yet auction for offshore wind
Bidding began Wednesday in the biggest US offshore wind energy auction yet, involving nearly 500,000 acres off the coasts of New York and New Jersey.
Through 13 rounds of bids by mid-afternoon, companies had offered $817 million for leases on on six tracts up for grabs, according to data from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
The agency, part of the US Department of the Interior, has said it could extend the bidding process through to Friday.
Development of all six tracts could generate as much seven gigawatts of wind energy, enough to power some two million homes, the agency said.
Nearly 25 firms were authorized to participate in the auction, including European companies Avangrid Renewables, Equinor ASA and EDF Renewables Development, as well as US groups Invenergy and Arevia Power.
"People are excited because this is the first lease sale that has been held by the federal government since 2018," said Lesley Jantarasami, an energy specialist at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a US think tank.
Jantarasami noted that the Biden administration has set a goal of producing 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030.
"For a long time, everybody has been saying it's poised to take off," she said, alluding to the interest of European companies in the US offshore market.
"But we had not seen the federal government take concrete action to make this a reality," she said.
In 2018, 11 companies bid on three tracts across 390,000 acres near Massachusetts. That sale raised $405 million following 32 rounds of bidding.
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