U.S. to Hold Record Offshore Wind Farm Auction to Push Forward on Clean Energy

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The U.S. government has outlined a range of measures to accelerate the growing clean energy in the country’s power grid, including its biggest ever offshore wind auction to be held next month for 480,000 acres of area in waters off the coast of New York and New Jersey states. 

The auction for the sale of six commercial leases in the New York Bight, the region of shallow waters between New York’s Long Island and New Jersey, are the most lots ever offered in a single auction. According to the government, the project could generate between 5.6 to 7 GW of electricity, enough to power 2 million homes.

The auction to be held on February 23, will be the first offshore wind lease sale under President Biden, whose administration aims to build a total of 7 major offshore wind farms and review plans for at least 16 others wind farms along the US coasts. 

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Biden has pledged an “all-of-government” approach to combat the effects of global warming and decarbonize the U.S. power grid by 2035. Last year, the government launched an aggressive push to install 30 GW of energy capacity and supply renewable energy to more than 10 million homes by 2030.

The auction comes after the state governments of New York and New Jersey announced their plans for the development of 16 GW offshore wind projects before 2035. The wind investment is expected to cut off 78 million tons of CO2 emissions and create thousands of jobs.

In a statement, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, “We are at an inflection point for domestic offshore wind energy development. We must seize this moment—and we must do it together.”

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management of the Interior Department said 25 companies are eligible to bid on the leases and each bidder may only win one lease. The developers will be required to use union labor to build their projects and to outline plans for supporting the creation of a domestic supply chain for the industry.

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In a wide-ranging memo, the Interior Department unveiled actions by seven federal agencies designed to accelerate the deployment of transmission lines for wind and solar projects. The administration also announced steps to slash the time consumed to permit clean energy projects on public lands through better coordination between agencies and the creation of renewable energy coordination offices at the Interior Department.

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