The Department of the Interior has announced details of the proposed sale for offshore wind development in the New York Bight – an area of shallow water between Long Island and the New Jersey coast
This would be the first competitive offshore wind lease sale for the Biden-Harris administration and it includes a number of potential ‘stipulations’ that will drive job creation and address the concerns of the fishing industry.
The proposed lease areas have the potential to unlock over 7 GW of offshore wind energy. To date, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has held eight competitive lease sales and issued 17 active commercial offshore wind leases on the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to North Carolina.
The proposed sale notice includes eight lease areas in the New York Bight that could be auctioned for commercial wind energy development. A Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) in the Federal Register opens a 60-day public comment period and provides detailed information about potential areas that could be available for leasing, proposed lease provisions and conditions, and auction details.
BOEM is also seeking feedback on several innovative lease stipulations that will reaffirm its commitment to create jobs and engage with stakeholders and other ocean users. Among the potential stipulations are a requirement ‘to make every reasonable effort’ to enter into a project labour agreement covering the construction of any project proposed for the lease area.
Also a potential stipulation is a requirement to include a stakeholder and ocean user engagement summary as part of a lessee’s progress reporting requirements.
This summary would describe existing ocean users in the New York Bight, engagement activities with those users during the reporting period, and a description of efforts to minimise any conflict between the existing users and the lessee.
This particular provision is intended to strengthen current fisheries communication requirements and improve co-ordination between the lessee and fishing communities early in the planning of proposed wind facilities.
A further stipulation is the adoption of mechanisms to provide benefits to underserved communities and investments in a domestic supply chain, consistent with the goals and objectives of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said the proposed lease stipulations “put a priority on creating and sustaining good-paying union jobs as we build a clean energy economy.”
BOEM director Amanda Lefton said, “The New York Bight is a prime example of how regional co-operation, partnerships, and stakeholder feedback can come together to identify areas suitable for offshore wind development. Today’s announcement demonstrates that fighting climate change and creating union jobs can go hand-in-hand.”
Comments received by the end of the public comment period will be made available to the public and considered before deciding whether to publish a Final Sale Notice, which will announce the time and date of the lease sale.
During the PSN comment period, BOEM will host virtual meetings to share updates on its renewable energy leasing process, provide an overview on how the proposed lease areas were chosen and discuss new lease stipulations BOEM is considering in the proposed New York Bight auction. BOEM will also host a public seminar to describe the auction format, explain the auction rules, and demonstrate the auction process through meaningful examples.
Responding to the announcement, National Ocean Industries Association president Erik Milito said, “New York and New Jersey are integral to the development of American offshore wind. Wood Mackenzie expects that a wind lease sale in the New York Bight could end up supporting 32,000 jobs per year, US$3.3Bn in annual wages and US$45.9Bn in total capital investment. A lease sale not only opens a door to investment in New York and New Jersey but will support jobs and businesses throughout the US.
“Providing new offshore wind opportunities will boost critical investments into the supply chain, ports and workers, and will provide a foundation for exceptional offshore wind growth. Offshore wind is truly a generational economic and energy opportunity, and one the Biden administration is seizing. Today’s announcement is a win for the American people, the energy industry and the environment.”
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