Interior Department Achieves Another Milestone for Offshore Commercial Wind Energy Development in New Jersey
Department Proposes Next Offshore Wind Lease Sale to Advance President’s Climate Action Plan, Identifies 344,000 Acres Offshore New Jersey
Tracey Moriarty (BOEM) 703-787-1571
WASHINGTON, DC —As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to create American jobs, develop domestic clean energy sources and cut carbon pollution, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank today announced the proposed sale of leases for nearly 344,000 acres offshore New Jersey for commercial wind energy leasing.
“Responsible offshore wind energy development has the potential to create jobs, expand our domestic clean energy resources, and strengthen our nation’s economic competitiveness,” said Jewell. “Today’s announcement is a testament to the true collaboration and commitment from New Jersey for harnessing clean energy, and it reflects extensive consultations with a number of local communities and stakeholders to minimize conflicts and bring clarity and certainty to potential wind energy developers. We are another important step closer to harnessing the enormous potential of wind energy off New Jersey’s shores—a resource that could power more than one million homes.”
“New Jersey has the offshore wind resources to be a national leader in clean energy generation and this announcement is an important step in that direction,” said U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). “A robust offshore wind industry in New Jersey will mean jobs and less pollution. This is truly welcome news.”
BOEM identified the New Jersey Wind Energy Area in consultation with members of its New Jersey Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, which includes federal, state, tribal, and local government partners. BOEM proposes to auction the Wind Energy Area as two leases: the South Lease Area (160,480 acres) and the North Lease Area (183,353 acres). The Wind Energy Area begins about seven nautical miles off the coast from Atlantic City. A map of the Wind Energy Area can be found by clicking here.
Based on an analysis prepared for BOEM by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the New Jersey Wind Energy Area as currently delineated, if fully developed, may be able to support up to 3,400 megawatts of commercial wind generation, enough to power about 1.2 million homes.
Today’s announcement builds on Interior’s work to stand up a sustainable offshore wind program through its ‘Smart from the Start’ wind energy initiative for the Atlantic Coast. To date, BOEM has awarded five commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast: two non-competitive leases (Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound off Massachusetts and an area off Delaware) and three competitive leases (two offshore Massachusetts-Rhode Island and another offshore Virginia). Competitive lease sales have generated about $5.4 million in high bids for about 277,550 acres in federal waters. BOEM expects to hold additional competitive auctions for wind energy areas offshore Maryland in August and Massachusetts in the coming year.
“The key to responsible offshore development is substantial stakeholder engagement to identify and address any concerns early in the process,” said Cruickshank. “Members of the New Jersey Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force have demonstrated leadership and foresight in making sure that the wind energy planning process considers input from many important stakeholders, including industry, environmental organizations, and the maritime community."
The Proposed Sale Notice, to be published in the Federal Register on July 21, 2014, will include a 60-day public comment period ending on September 19, 2014. Comments received or postmarked by that date will be made available to the public and considered before the publication of the Final Sale Notice, which will announce the time and date of the lease sale.
The Proposed Sale Notice also provides detailed information concerning the areas available for leasing, the proposed lease provisions and conditions, auction details (e.g., criteria for evaluating competing bids and award procedures) and lease execution.
The end of the comment period also serves as the deadline for any companies wishing to participate in the lease sale to submit their qualification package, if they have not already done so. To be eligible to participate in the lease sale, each bidder must have been notified by BOEM that it is legally, technically and financially qualified by the time the Final Sale Notice is published. The Proposed Sale Notice provides additional information about qualification requirements. Companies planning to submit a qualification package are strongly encouraged to submit as early as possible during the comment period to ensure adequate time for processing.
BOEM will host a public seminar on August 6, 2014, to describe the auction format, explain the auction rules, and demonstrate the auction process through meaningful examples. The time and place of the seminar will be announced by BOEM and related information will be published on the BOEM website.
Public comments for the New Jersey Proposed Sale Notice may be submitted at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. BOEM-2014-0029.
For information on wind energy leasing offshore New Jersey, including the PSN and map of the proposed lease areas, click here.
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