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Bidding began Wednesday in the biggest US offshore wind energy auction yet, involving nearly 500,000 acres off the coasts of New York and New Jersey.
Energy companies interested in developing offshore wind sites bid more than $1.5 billion on February 23 in by far the biggest US auction for the renewable power.
After launching the auction on the morning of February 23, US officials released updates throughout the day as the bids gradually rose on six available tracts involving nearly 500,000 acres off the coasts of the states of New York and New Jersey.
US President Joe Biden has embraced offshore wind as a component of an energy transition needed to combat climate change.
Development of all six tracts could generate as much as 7GW of wind energy, enough to power some two million homes, the agency said.
Nearly 25 firms were authorised to participate in the auction, including European companies Avangrid Renewables, Equinor ASA and EDF Renewables Development, as well as US groups Invenergy and Arevia Power.
“People are excited because this is the first lease sale that has been held by the federal government since 2018,” said Lesley Jantarasami, an energy specialist at the Bipartisan Policy Centre, a US think tank.
Jantarasami noted that the Biden administration has set a goal of producing 30GW of offshore wind energy by 2030.
“We are turning the corner,” Jantarasami said. “This administration in particular and the governors want the projects to happen. They are going to work pretty closely to make the projects happen.”