The US will hold as many as seven offshore lease sales by 2025 in its Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico waters with the aim of speeding up the ambitious offshore wind build-out targets laid out by the Biden administration earlier this year, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has announced.
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Haaland, speaking at American Clean Power’s Offshore Windpower conference, said unspecified acreage would be auctioned off by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, Mid-Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, as well as off the Carolinas, California, and Oregon, to underpin Washington’s aim of having 30GW of wind plant operating at sea by the end of the decade.
“The Interior Department is laying out an ambitious roadmap as we advance the [Biden] administration’s plans to confront climate change, create good-paying jobs, and accelerate the nation’s transition to a cleaner energy future,” she said.
“This timetable provides two crucial ingredients for success: increased certainty and transparency. Together, we will meet our clean energy goals while addressing the needs of other ocean users and potentially impacted communities. We have big goals to achieve a clean energy economy and Interior is meeting the moment.”
Though the total capacity of the lease sales was not specified, the Interior Department had previously set a goal of having 12.5GW of offshore wind online by 2025. According to BOEM, the New York Bight tender could have “more than” 7GW of capacity, while those proposed off California total 4GW.
BOEM director Amanda Lefton said: “We are working to facilitate a pipeline of projects that will establish confidence for the offshore wind industry.
“At the same time, we want to reduce potential conflicts as much as we can while meeting the Administration’s goal to deploy 30GW of offshore wind by 2030. This means we will engage early and often with all stakeholders prior to identifying any new wind energy areas.”
As well as identifying new offshore wind lease sales, BOEM is said to be mulling “innovative lease stipulations consistent with the goals and objectives of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act”, such as lease-holder reporting requirements that would minimise conflicts with other ocean users, mechanisms for project labour agreements, and investments in the US domestic supply chain.
American Clean Power CEO Heather Zichal said: “[We] and our member companies applaud Interior Secretary Haaland and BOEM’s announcement of a strategy to explore [these] offshore wind lease areas by 2025.”
In a statement, the DOI said: “[The government] has made significant progress to spur responsible offshore wind development, which is driving the establishment of a robust domestic supply chain and the creation of resilient clean energy that will combat climate change and create good-paying jobs”, pointing to the BOEM’s aim of completing the review of 16 construction and operations plans totalling almost 20GW of clean energy by 2025.