The U.S. Department of the Interior and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced last week the proposed sale of leases for nearly 344,000 acres offshore New Jersey for commercial wind energy leasing.   

BOEM identified the New Jersey Wind Energy Area in consultation with members of its New Jersey Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, which includes federal, state, tribal and local government partners. BOEM proposes to auction the Wind Energy Area as two leases: the South Lease Area (160,480 acres) and the North Lease Area (183,353 acres). The Wind Energy Area begins about seven nautical miles off the coast from Atlantic City. A map of the Wind Energy Area can be found by clicking here.

Based on an analysis prepared for BOEM by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the New Jersey Wind Energy Area as currently delineated, if fully developed, may be able to support up to 3,400 Mw of commercial wind generation, enough to power about 1.2 million homes.

The announcement builds on the Interior Department’s work to stand up a sustainable offshore wind program through its ‘Smart from the Start’ wind energy initiative for the Atlantic Coast. To date, BOEM has awarded five commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast: two non-competitive leases (Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound off Massachusetts and an area off Delaware) and three competitive leases (two offshore Massachusetts-Rhode Island and another offshore Virginia). Competitive lease sales have generated about $5.4 million in high bids for about 277,550 acres in federal waters. BOEM expects to hold additional competitive auctions for wind energy areas offshore Maryland in August and Massachusetts in the coming year.

The Proposed Sale Notice was published in the Federal Register on July 21 and includes a 60-day public comment period ending on Sept. 19. Comments received or postmarked by that date will be made available to the public and considered before the publication of the Final Sale Notice, which will announce the time and date of the lease sale.

The Proposed Sale Notice also provides detailed information concerning the areas available for leasing, the proposed lease provisions and conditions, auction details (e.g., criteria for evaluating competing bids and award procedures) and lease execution.  

The end of the comment period also serves as the deadline for any companies wishing to participate in the lease sale to submit their qualification package.

BOEM will host a public seminar on Aug. 6 to describe the auction format, explain the auction rules, and demonstrate the auction process through meaningful examples. The time and place of the seminar will be announced by BOEM and related information will be published on the BOEM website.

Public comments for the New Jersey Proposed Sale Notice may be submitted at under Docket No. BOEM-2014-0029.

For information on wind energy leasing offshore New Jersey, including the PSN and map of the proposed lease areas, click here.