The United States has set off the largest-ever sale of offshore wind development rights, bringing in record-setting bids from companies seeking to expand their green energy footprints.
In the first offshore wind lease sale under the Biden administration, areas off the coast of New York and New Jersey have been allocated as part of President Joe Biden’s cornerstone climate-fighting strategy to de-carbonize the U.S. energy grid by 2035, Reuters reports.
After 11 rounds, bidding reached a record $250 million for a single lease of 32 miles, or 51.5 kilometers, off the coast of New Jersey. The government calculated that the 114-acre area could generate power for more than 485,000 homes.
The previous record paid for a U.S. offshore wind site was $135.1 million in 2018 for an area off the coast of Massachusetts.
Additionally, bids on the other five lease sites in the auction ranged between $12.6 million and $134.3 million.
The auction reflects a major change in the United States, which has for years fallen behind European countries in the development of wind technology.
The energy generated from the newly auctioned-off areas has the potential to power almost 2 million homes, according to the Biden administration. The administration previously set a goal of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 from territory along the coastlines.
Most of the current development is occurring in the Northeast. New York and New Jersey have also set targets of 16 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035, and Wednesday’s lease areas could generate over a third of that target.
“That’s enough wind to power millions of homes,” Ed Potosnak, executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, told Reuters. “That’s a big deal in a state with about nine million people.”
However, the expansion of wind energy has not been met with widespread approval. Commercial fishermen and coastal communities have been worried about the potential harm to their livelihoods and property values.
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