Offshore Industry News

US Department of the Interior Announces Offshore Wind Lease Sale in Central Atlantic

In another step by the Biden-Harris administration to support the growing momentum across America for a clean energy economy, the Department of the Interior announced it would hold an offshore wind energy lease sale in the Central Atlantic. The areas to be auctioned on August 14, 2024, by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management could generate up to 6.3 gigawatts of clean, renewable energy and power up to 2.2 million homes. The announcement is one of many steps the Department is taking to expand offshore wind energy opportunities, building on investments made by the President’s Investing in America agenda and creating good-paying jobs for American workers.

“Across America’s coasts, we continue to see excitement and momentum for the Biden-Harris administration’s pursuit of a clean energy future,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “We are taking action to jumpstart America’s offshore wind energy industry and using American innovation to deliver reliable, affordable power to homes and businesses while also addressing the climate crisis. As we do, we are working collaboratively with states, Tribes, and stakeholders to ensure we are making smart decisions and efficient use of our nation’s offshore resources.

“We are excited to announce this sale and underscore our commitment to explore additional areas in the Central Atlantic for potential offshore wind energy development,” added BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “BOEM will continue to work with all ocean users to ensure offshore wind energy proceeds in an environmentally responsible manner.”

Bidenomics and the President’s Investing in America agenda are growing the American economy from the middle out and bottom-up—from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure to driving over half a trillion dollars in new private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States to creating good-paying jobs and building a clean energy economy that will combat the climate crisis and make our communities more resilient.

Since the start of the Biden-Harris administration, the Department has approved the nation’s first eight commercial-scale offshore wind energy projects in federal waters. BOEM has held four offshore wind lease sales, including offshore New York, New Jersey, and the Carolinas, and the first-ever sales offshore the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts. The Department recently announced a schedule of up to 12 additional lease sales through 2028.  

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(Image credit: BOEM)

The Final Sale Notice (FSN), which will publish in the Federal Register on July 1, includes one area offshore the states of Delaware and Maryland and one area offshore the Commonwealth of Virginia. Lease Area A-2 consists of 101,443 acres and is approximately 26 nautical miles (nm) from Delaware Bay. Lease Area C-1 consists of 176,505 acres and is approximately 35 nm from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Seventeen companies qualified to participate in the August sale.

BOEM partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to develop a comprehensive, ecosystem-based ocean planning model that assisted in the selection of the final lease areas. The FSN contains detailed information about the areas available for leasing, certain lease provisions and conditions, auction details, criteria for evaluating competing bids, and procedures for lease award, appeals, and lease execution. Details on the FSN, along with a map of the area, can be found on BOEM’s website.

BOEM is including several lease stipulations and bidding credits that would reaffirm its commitment to creating good-paying jobs and engaging with ocean users and other stakeholders. Some of these stipulations, which are part of the FSN, include:

  • Providing a 12.5% bidding credit to bidders who commit to supporting workforce training programs for the offshore wind industry, developing a domestic supply chain for the offshore wind industry, or a combination of both. 
  • Providing a 12.5% bidding credit to bidders who establish and contribute to a fisheries compensatory mitigation fund or contribute to an existing fund to mitigate potential negative impacts from offshore wind energy development in the Central Atlantic to commercial and for-hire recreational fisheries. 
  • Stipulations that lessees make every reasonable effort to enter into a project labor agreement covering the construction stage of any project for the lease areas; communication plans for Tribes, agencies, and fisheries; and semi-annual reports on engagement activities with Tribes and communities.

BOEM will also continue to convene the Central Atlantic Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force to enhance collaboration and to explore and identify potential additional areas for future offshore wind leasing. These ongoing intergovernmental efforts include the advancement of a December 2023 commitment and June 2024 Memorandum of Understanding that outline joint work by the Biden-Harris administration and the State of Maryland to evaluate additional areas off Maryland’s shores that could become wind energy areas and support the development of offshore wind projects.

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