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14 companies selected for New York offshore wind auction

Companies will bid on 15 December to develop 80,000 acres of water for offshore wind south of Long Island.

A US federal agency has qualified 14 companies to bid on an area near Long Island, New York available for offshore wind development.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), part of the Department of the Interior, will auction 79,350 acres near the coast of Long Island on 15 December. Companies like Deepwater Wind, which recently completed the first US offshore wind project, DONG Energy and EDF Renewable Development were deemed legally, technically and financially qualified to participate in the lease sale.

The New York Wind Energy Area begins 11.5 nautical miles south of Jones Beach on Long Island and extends 24 nautical miles southeast. BOEM originally made 81,130 acres available for the sale, but removed 1,780 acres due to environmental concerns.

BOEM has opened other offshore wind zones along the east coast in states including Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia. However, developers have been eager to obtain construction rights around Long Island due to the large nearby power market, strong and consistent wind speed, and the large area able to accommodate an estimated 700MW plus of generation.

“Today's announcement not only marks another milestone for the US offshore wind energy program, but also demonstrates how our collaborative efforts with state, local and private sector partners can advance a clean energy future in the United States,” Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said in a statement.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) also is qualified to bid. NYSERDA has stated that offshore wind will play an important role in meeting New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's goal to generate 50 percent of the state's energy needs from clean sources by 2030.

In June, BOEM issued a 60-day sale for the lease area. It held public meetings in New York City and Long Island over the following weeks to hear comments from stakeholders. In response to concerns raised during the public comment period, BOEM has included a lease requirement for the winning bidder to develop a plan to work with the local fishing industry.

BOEM Abigail Ross Hopper said in a statement: “The process to develop and refine the New York lease area, as well as the online auction, reflects the deep commitment BOEM has to listening and responding to stakeholders and ensuring that all voices are heard as we forge a path to a clean energy future.”