With an eye on boosting the local economy through wind farms, the Empire and Garden States are teaming up to sell off close to a half-million offshore acres for wind energy development, officials announced Wednesday.
Next month, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold an auction for more than 480,000 acres offshore New York and New Jersey, bringing major developments in wind energy and job creation to the region.
The location is known as New York Bight, the coastal region between Long Island and New Jersey shores. On Feb. 23, the auction will allow offshore wind developers to bid on six lease areas— sales could result in 5.6 to 7 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, which is enough to power nearly 2 million homes.
Governor Kathy Hochul joined the Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and others to discuss the importance of this historic initiative.
“Unlocking this opportunity is exactly what we’ve been waiting for for over four years since this was all pent up during the Trump administration that did not see the vision as clearly as all of us do today,” Hochul said. “Here in New York, we are already living with the disastrous effects of climate change through extreme weather that pose a direct threat to our way of life. We must chart an ambitious path toward a cleaner energy economy now more than ever, and today’s milestone further highlights New York’s commitment creating a greener tomorrow.”
Hochul also mentioned that this auction will bring much-needed jobs to people in her state and elsewhere.
“We do this to protect the future but also to give people, typically those who have been so hard hit by this pandemic, an opportunity to transition into jobs,” Hochul said, “as well as opening the door for opportunities for women, I don’t see as many women as I want to see in these industries and also people of color.”
This offshore auction will have set the nation’s largest regional offshore wind target of installing over 16 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035. The Biden-Harris administration’s goal is to install 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, which is largely supplemented by the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic developments.
Haaland said that the Biden-Harris administration has put the climate crisis at the forefront of their agenda.
“Offshore wind opportunities like the New York Bight present a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fight climate change and create good-paying, union jobs in the United States,” Haaland said. “We are at an inflection point for domestic offshore wind energy development. We must seize this moment – and we must do it together.”
According to Interior Department, a recent report indicated that the growing offshore wind industry could lend a $109 billion opportunity in revenue to businesses in the supply chain over the next decade.
The New York Bight offshore wind auction includes stipulations to promote a robust supply chain for offshore wind, enhancing the commercial fishing industry and underserved communities. The auction sale requires lessees to identify fishing industries, underserved communities and other ocean users that could be affected by offshore wind development. The Interior Department will keep an eye on companies’ engagement and transparency with these communities.
Murphy said that offshore wind holds “tremendous promise” for the future as we seek to combat climate change, boost the economy and strengthen the workforce.
“New Jersey is already committed to creating nearly one-quarter of the nation’s offshore wind-generation market and these transformative projects are proof that climate action can drive investments in infrastructure and manufacturing, while creating good-paying, union jobs,” Murphy said. “By acting on this shared vision, we can promote our joint offshore wind goals, and deliver benefits to residents of both states, particularly those in overburdened communities. Together, with this critical cooperation with the Biden-Harris administration and our state partners, we will turn this vision of becoming a leader in the global offshore wind market into a reality.”
During this announcement, the two governors praised their collaboration efforts and said it should act as a model for what can be accomplished when states work together instead of competing.
This story first appeared on amNY.com.