More than 480,000 acres off NJ to be leased for wind power
TRENTON – New Jersey and New York will cooperate on creating a supply chain for offshore wind development, the governors of the two states said Wednesday as the Biden administration announced that it will hold an auction next month to lease more than 480,000 offshore acres for wind power.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management auction will be conducted Feb. 23 and cover six areas in the Atlantic Ocean off of New Jersey’s coast, roughly from areas east of Long Branch down to Long Beach Island. The waters off New Jersey and Long Island are known as the New York Bight.
The acreage in the auction was reduced by 72% from initial plans, federal officials said, but the six areas that remain are still the most ever included in a single BOEM auction. It could yield up to 7 gigawatts of energy, enough to power 2 million homes.
“We are at an inflection point for domestic offshore wind energy development,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “It presents a unique opportunity to build a brand-new industry that can combat climate change and create robust and sustainable economies.”
The Biden administration is aiming to install 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030. New York and New Jersey have goals of providing more than half of that combined – 9 GW in New York and 7.5 GW in New Jersey.
The wind auction will include new stipulations designed to promote the development of a U.S.-based wind-energy supply chain, including incentives to source major components – such as blades, turbines, and foundations – domestically and to enter into project labor agreements so projects are union-built.
'Job creation machine'
“This is how we stand up a reliable, sustainable and equitable offshore wind job creation machine,” said Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO.
New Jersey has broken ground on a wind port in Salem County, as well as a terminal at the Paulsboro Marine Terminal, in a plan to increase manufacturing jobs.
“Fighting climate change and creating good-paying overwhelmingly as I said union jobs, those aren’t at odds at each other,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “In fact, they go hand in hand.”
“We’re further cementing the region not just in terms of clean energy but as a domestic supply chain for offshore wind generation and manufacturing, which is a gamechanger in and of itself,” he said.
“We’re happy to have this part of the Northeast be the national epicenter of manufacturing for this industry,” said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Clean Ocean Action called the plan "massive full-scale ocean industrialization" that puts the ocean at risk through significant heat, pollution and ecological impacts.
"It is a sad day for the ocean off the New Jersey and New York coasts, which is one of the most ecologically important areas for marine life — especially whales and dolphins," the group said. "Rather than focusing on faster, cheaper, safer, better green energy solutions, the region is racing to sell-off large scale areas of the ocean to major industrial developers."
Twenty-five companies are qualified to bid for the wind leases in next month’s auction, according to BOEM.
Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.