Biden’s Offshore Wind Lease Sale Wins Record Bids Worth $4.37bn

03 March 2022 by Bailie Milton
blog author

​The New York Bight offshore wind sale has become the USA’s highest-grossing competitive offshore energy lease sale in history, according to the Department of the Interior.

The auction, the first of its kind for the Biden-Harris administration, which reached a staggering $4.37bn in winning bids, has the potential to power nearly two million homes. It plays a key role in reaching the administration’s goal of gaining 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030.

Six lease areas were offered in the sale, totalling more than 488,000 acres in the New York Bight for potential wind energy development, which attracted the competitive winning bids from six companies.

The expanding offshore wind energy industry in the US presents a revenue opportunity worth $109bn to businesses in the supply chain over the next decade, according to a report by The Special Initiative on Offshore Wind.

Deb Haaland, Secretary, said: “This offshore wind sale makes one thing clear: the enthusiasm for the clean energy economy is undeniable and it’s here to stay.

“The investments we are seeing will play an important role in delivering on the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to tackle the climate crisis and create thousands of good-paying, union jobs across the nation.”

The provisional winners of the lease sale are OW Ocean Winds East, Attentive Energy, Bight Wind Holdings, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Bight, Inv energy Wind Offshore and Mid-Atlantic Offshore Wind.

The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission will conduct an anti-competitiveness review of the auction, before finalizing the leases, and the provisional winners will be required to pay the winning bids and provide financial assurance to Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

The New York Bight offshore wind leases include stipulations such as incentives to source major components domestically – such as blades, turbines and foundations – and to enter into project labor agreements to ensure projects are union-built.

Amanda Lefton, BOEM Director, said: “We must have a robust and resilient domestic offshore wind supply chain to deliver good-paying, union jobs and the economic benefits to residents in the region.

“Because we understand the value of meaningful community engagement, we are requiring lessees to report their engagement activities to BOEM, specifically noting how they’re incorporating any feedback into their future plans.”

A collaboration was formed in January by Secretary Haaland, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and New York Governor Kathy Hochul which will establish the US as a major player in the global offshore wind energy market. The trio shares a vision for developing an offshore wind energy domestic supply chain to support residents of New York, New Jersey and the surrounding area.

To accelerate the Interior Department’s environmental justice and economic empowerment goals, lessees must engage with tribes, underserved communities and other ocean users who could be affected by offshore wind energy development. 

BOEM initially asked for information and nominations of commercial interest on 1.7 million acres in the New York Bight but reduced this by 72 per cent to avoid conflict with ocean users and to minimize impact on the environment. It received extensive input from the commercial fishing industry, tribes, partnering agencies, key stakeholders and the public.

The administration has approved the nation’s first two commercial-scale offshore wind projects in federal waters: the 800-megawatt (MW) Vineyard Wind project and the 130MW South Fork Wind project. BOEM expects to review at least 16 plans to construct and operate commercial offshore wind energy facilities by 2025, representing more than 22 GW of clean energy for the US.

Bailie Milton, Senior Consultant, Sustainable Energy US at Acre, said: “The lofty goal of 30GW by 2025 is wonderful to see as it will not only provide more meaning full career opportunities, but sends a strong message to our country about the importance of individual contribution to help prevent the climate crisis from continuing.”

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Bailie is an experienced member of Acre’s senior level search function within sustainable energy across the United States. As part of Acre’s Renewable Energy Team, Bailie leads retained mandates for Associate level hires through to senior appointments. Bailie provides subject matter expertise as she has over 4 years’ experience within the renewable energy sector.

She strategically focuses on operations, construction, and engineering for OEM’s, Subcontractors, Owners, and Utility companies.  Based in Houston, TX, Bailie earned a Human Resources degree from Louisiana State University.