BREAKING: New York Bight Lease Sale Ends with USD 4.37 Billion Secured for US Treasury

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed the country’s biggest offshore wind auction after three days and 64 rounds, and the six offered lease sites gathering a total of USD 4.37 billion that will go to the US Treasury.

Illustration; Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) demo project, first wind turbines in US federal waters; Photo: Dominion Energy

The largest and most expensive site, which could accommodate a minimum of 1,387 MW of installed capacity, was secured for a price of USD 1.1 billion by Bight Wind Holdings, LLC, a joint venture between RWE Renewables and National Grid.

According to RWE, the lease site has the potential of 3 GW of installed offshore wind capacity. This is in line with what the US Department of Interior (DOI) said earlier on the potential for the sites to have higher installed capacity, mostly due to technological advancements in the industry.

Attentive Energy LLC, a joint venture between EnBW and TotalEnergies, is the winner of the second most expensive lease site, located northeast of the biggest lease area, for a price of USD 795 million.

Shell and EDF Renewables-owned Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Bight, LLC, won the development area south of the biggest site for USD 780 million, and the area adjacent to Shell and EDF’s was secured by Invenergy Wind Offshore LLC for USD 645 million.

OW Ocean Winds East LLC, an existing joint venture between EDP Renewables and Engie, won the lease area in Central Bight for USD 765 million, while the smallest auctioned site, situated offshore Long Beach in New York, was secured by Mid-Atlantic Offshore Wind LLC, owned by Danish Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), for USD 285 million.

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BOEM had pre-qualified 25 companies and consortia for this lease sale, including BP, Equinor, SSE Renewables, and Avangrid Renewables, among others.

The offshore wind giant Ørsted was also one of the eligible bidders for the New York Bight auction, but through a company under a different name – which the developer decided to keep a secret.

To put the figures from the first offshore wind auction held under the Biden-Harris Administration into perspective, the record so far was held by the 2018 Massachusetts lease sale with a total of USD 405.1 million. Now, one site alone was secured for USD 1.1 billion. Also, the first oil and gas lease sale organised under the current administration (later quashed by the District Court in Washington, D.C.) gathered USD 191 million in total in November 2021.

Before the New York Bight leases are finalised, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission will conduct an anti-competitiveness review of the auction, and the provisional winners will be required to pay the winning bids and provide financial assurance to BOEM.

The New York Bight offshore wind leases include novel stipulations designed to promote the development of a robust domestic US supply chain for offshore wind energy and enhance engagement with Tribes, the commercial fishing industry, other ocean users and underserved communities, the US Department of the Interior (DOI) said.

The stipulations will also advance flexibility in transmission planning. Stipulations include incentives to source major components domestically – such as blades, turbines and foundations – and to enter into project labour agreements to ensure projects are union-built, according to the DOI.

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