US set to auction new wind farms

17 October 2021 - 00:05 By Reuters
Over the past month, the cost of coal has surged to a record, well above $200 (almost R3,000) a ton.
Over the past month, the cost of coal has surged to a record, well above $200 (almost R3,000) a ton.
Image: 123RF/filedimage

The US plans to hold up to seven offshore wind auctions in the next four years, including in areas yet to be developed such as off the coast of California and in the Gulf of Mexico, a Biden administration official said this week.

The announcement comes as the administration is looking to bolster the nascent industry as part of a plan to address climate change by decarbonising the power sector by 2035.

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold the lease sales by 2025 in the Gulf of Maine, the Gulf of Mexico and off the coasts of California, the Carolinas and Oregon, interior secretary Deb Haaland said.

The administration is also pursuing sales in the New York Bight, an area of shallow waters between New Jersey and Long Island, New York, and the Central Atlantic. Thus far most offshore wind leases have been issued for waters off the coast of northeastern states.

President Joe Biden earlier this year set a goal to deploy 30GW of offshore wind energy — enough to power 10-million homes — by 2030. BOEM aims to review at least 16 offshore wind project plans by 2025.

That build-out would be extremely quick for a nation that only permitted its first commercial-scale offshore wind farm this year.

In her speech, Haaland said the administration would make a decision in the coming weeks about what would be the nation’s second major project, Orsted’s South Fork wind farm in waters between Rhode Island and Long Island.