New Jersey One Step Closer to Offshore Wind Energy

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank have announced the proposed sale of leases for nearly 344,000 acres offshore New Jersey for commercial wind energy leasing.

New Jersey One Step Closer to Offshore Wind Energy

“Responsible offshore wind energy development has the potential to create jobs, expand our domestic clean energy resources, and strengthen our nation’s economic competitiveness,” said Jewell. “Today’s announcement is a testament to the true collaboration and commitment from New Jersey for harnessing clean energy, and it reflects extensive consultations with a number of local communities and stakeholders to minimize conflicts and bring clarity and certainty to potential wind energy developers. We are another important step closer to harnessing the enormous potential of wind energy off New Jersey’s shores—a resource that could power more than one million homes.”

“New Jersey has the offshore wind resources to be a national leader in clean energy generation and this announcement is an important step in that direction,” said U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). “A robust offshore wind industry in New Jersey will mean jobs and less pollution. This is truly welcome news.”

BOEM identified the New Jersey Wind Energy Area in consultation with members of its New Jersey Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, which includes federal, state, tribal, and local government partners. BOEM proposes to auction the Wind Energy Area as two leases: the South Lease Area (160,480 acres) and the North Lease Area (183,353 acres). The Wind Energy Area begins about seven nautical miles off the coast from Atlantic City. A map of the Wind Energy Area can be found by clicking here.

Based on an analysis prepared for BOEM by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the New Jersey Wind Energy Area as currently delineated, if fully developed, may be able to support up to 3,400 megawatts of commercial wind generation, enough to power about 1.2 million homes.

To date, BOEM has awarded five commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast: two non-competitive leases (Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound off Massachusetts and an area off Delaware) and three competitive leases (two offshore Massachusetts-Rhode Island and another offshore Virginia). Competitive lease sales have generated about $5.4 million in high bids for about 277,550 acres in federal waters. BOEM expects to hold additional competitive auctions for wind energy areas offshore Maryland in August and Massachusetts in the coming year.

“The key to responsible offshore development is substantial stakeholder engagement to identify and address any concerns early in the process,” said Cruickshank. “Members of the New Jersey Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force have demonstrated leadership and foresight in making sure that the wind energy planning process considers input from many important stakeholders, including industry, environmental organizations, and the maritime community.”

The Proposed Sale Notice, to be published in the Federal Register on July 21, 2014, will include a 60-day public comment period ending on September 19, 2014. The end of the comment period also serves as the deadline for any companies wishing to participate in the lease sale to submit their qualification package, if they have not already done so. To be eligible to participate in the lease sale, each bidder must have been notified by BOEM that it is legally, technically and financially qualified by the time the Final Sale Notice is published.

Press release, July 18, 2014; Image: DOI