The U.S. federal government is pursuing a national strategy to facilitate the domestic development of offshore wind energy. Under federal law, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is responsible for administering renewable energy project development on the offshore Outer Continental Shelf. The strategy calls for BOEM to identify areas suitable for wind energy leasing, and to then offer leases through auctions or other sales.
BOEM is now moving forward with plans to auction leasing rights for an area offshore New York. In June 2016, BOEM first issued a Proposed Sale Notice for leasing rights off New York. BOEM solicited public comment on its proposal over the summer.
On October 27, 2016, BOEM announced the designation of a final New York Wind Energy Area, starting approximately 11.5 nautical miles from Jones Beach, NY, and running approximately 24 nm southeast. The final New York Wind Energy Area differs from BOEM's earlier leasing proposal primarily in its removal of about 1,780 acres due to environmental concerns over sensitive habitat on a feature called Cholera Bank.
BOEM's announcement also identified 14 companies that it has deemed legally, technically and financially qualified to participate in the New York lease sale:
- Avangrid Renewables, LLC
- CI-II NY Inc.
- DONG Energy Wind Power (U.S.) Inc.
- Innogy US Renewable Projects LLC
- wpd offshore Alpha LLC
- Deepwater Wind Hudson Canyon, LLC
- Energy Management, Inc.
- Convalt Energy LLC
- Clean Power Northeast Development Inc.
- New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
- Statoil Wind US LLC
- EDF Renewable Development, Inc.
- Fishermen’s Energy, LLC
- Sea Breeze Energy LLC
Meanwhile, state energy agency NYSERDA is pursuing the New York State Offshore Wind Master Plan to advance offshore wind development in the state. NYSERDA has expressed interest in bidding in a BOEM auction for project leasing rights, and was included in BOEM's list of entities qualified for the December 15 auction. Moreover, NYSERDA could be a beneficiary of the "government authority" provision in BOEM's Final Sale Notice; if so, it could receive a 10% credit on top of its cash bid.
BOEM will conduct the auction electronically, through a contractor, starting at 8:30 EST on December 15, 2016.