Industry leaders are urging the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to line up more lease auctions for offshore wind in 2020
Highlighting the anniversary of the record-breaking auction that saw rights sold for a combined US$405M to develop three lease areas off the coast of Massachusetts in 2018, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) senior director for policy and regulatory affairs, offshore, Laura Morton said, “Last year’s auction results erased any doubts that harnessing the winds off America’s shores offers a tremendous investment opportunity.
“But this represents more than a big investment. It means well-paying American jobs, a new US supply chain, and a homegrown clean energy source.
“The Department of Interior can expedite the creation of these benefits by holding firm to its directives to create a predictable regulatory environment in the energy sector, continuing to advance offshore wind projects under development, and conducting lease auctions as promised early next year.”
Earlier this year, AWEA joined the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), and Consumers’ Energy Alliance (CEA), sending letters to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross calling for them to recognise the economic benefits of offshore wind to the Gulf Coast and other coastal states and throughout the US.
They also highlighted what AWEA described as “the tremendous role offshore wind can play in strengthening American energy dominance with affordable, reliable, safe, secure, and clean domestic energy.”
NOIA president Erik Milito said, “The result of the Massachusetts auction in 2018 showed that not only has offshore wind arrived in the US, but that it has a chance to soar.
“The level of participation of the companies – including companies that were traditionally oil and natural gas producers – exemplifies the ability of the OCS to support ‘all of the above’ energy. Including offshore wind.
“However, the eight companies with more than US$285 million in exit bids were left without alternative projects to invest in. To truly embrace this momentum, the US needs a reliable and predictable roadmap of offshore wind leasing opportunities. No offshore wind auctions were held in 2019, and only two are on the horizon in the foreseeable future.
“The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has had a productive 2019, and we look forward to what 2020 will hold.
“As BOEM continues its work, NOIA encourages it to develop predictable and regularly scheduled offshore wind lease auctions.
“A long-term pipeline of wind lease opportunities will provide the necessary points of reference to plan future investments.”