On June 11, 2021, the US Department of the Interior’s (DOI’s) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) issued a proposed sale notice to sell commercial wind energy leases on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the New York Bight. The New York Bight is an area of shallow waters located between Long Island and the New Jersey coast that is adjacent to the greater metropolitan tristate area, which is home to more than 20 million people. BOEM proposes to offer for sale eight lease areas and to complete the lease sale by holding a public auction.
The proposed sale notice is one of the steps the Biden-Harris administration announced that it would take to support the rapid deployment of offshore wind projects. At the end of March, the administration announced that it would take coordinated steps to advance offshore wind development and set a goal of installing 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030. The lease areas that are covered by the proposed sale notice will have the potential to unlock more than seven gigawatts of offshore wind energy. BOEM also announced on June 14 that it entered into an agreement with the US Army Corps of Engineers under which the Army Corps will provide BOEM scientific and technical resources for evaluating offshore wind projects on the OCS.
The proposed sale notice includes information on the areas that are available for leasing, certain provisions and conditions of the leases, auction details, criteria for evaluating competing bids, award procedures, and lease execution. In addition, the proposed sale notice encourages comments from stakeholders on any matter related to the lease sale. It identifies several issues that are particularly important to developing the lease sale, which include the number, size, orientation, and location of the proposed lease areas; the transit corridor attributes; benefits to underserved communities; mechanisms to incentivize a durable domestic supply chain conducive to the development of the lease area and renewable energy development on the OCS; and stakeholder engagement. The proposed sale notice also seeks input on the proposal to allow bidders to bid for one lease area in each round of the auction and ultimately acquire only one of the lease areas from the auction.
Comments on the proposed sale notice are due by August 13, 2021, 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. In addition, parties that are interested in participating in the auction must submit qualification materials to BOEM by the end of the 60-day comment period.