US to auction waters off New York for offshore wind

Developers have until 5 August to qualify as a bidder for 80,000 acres of water available for offshore wind in one of the nation’s largest power markets.

The US federal government has issued a 60-day sale notice for more than 80,000 acres south of Long Island now available to build offshore wind projects.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), a division of the Department of Interior (DOI), has given developers until 5 August to submit proposals. Up for grabs is an 81,130-acre area of ocean 11 miles south of Long Beach, Long Island that BOEM has designated for offshore wind development.

BOEM has identified 10 other zones for offshore wind development 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.

Offshore wind has emerged as a force to be reckoned with in Europe, while the US has yet to build its first project, mainly due to high costs and strict regulations.

Deepwater Wind, which is nearing completion on a 30MW pilot wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island, is one developer that has already qualified to bid. So has EDF Renewable Energy and Fishermen’s Energy, which has also submitted proposals to build offshore projects near New Jersey.

Last Thursday, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced it would submit a bid, citing offshore wind as critical to meeting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision goal to generate 50 percent of the state’s electricity from renewables by 2030.

“Offshore wind will bring clean energy and economic development to New York's coastal communities, growing the state's economy and supporting Governor Cuomo's commitment to protecting the environment,” John Rhodes, NYSERDA’s chief executive, said in a statement.

BOEM said it will announce a meeting in New York City in the next few weeks to explain the rules of the auction and will hold four public meetings in local communities later in June to hear comments from stakeholders.