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Biden Administration Lays Out Plan For As Many As Seven Offshore Wind Leases

October 21, 2021

by Peter Maloney
October 21, 2021

The administration of President Joe Biden has outlined a path for the potential sale of up to seven new offshore leases for wind power projects by 2025.

The announcement aims to further the Biden administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030.

That goal, as stipulated in Executive Order 14008, calls for the Interior Department to partner with other federal agencies to increase renewable energy production on public lands and waters, including offshore wind, as well as at least 25 GW of onshore renewable energy by 2025.

The lease sales would be conducted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) for tracts in the Gulf of Maine, the New York Bight, the Central Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as offshore the Carolinas, California, and Oregon.

BOEM is refining its process for identifying additional wind energy areas, specifically the agency is developing clear goals, objectives, and guidelines that can be shared with government agencies, Native American tribes, industry, ocean users, and others prior to identifying such areas. BOEM also said it would use the best available science, as well as knowledge from ocean users and other stakeholders to minimize conflict with existing uses and marine life.

“We are working to facilitate a pipeline of projects that will establish confidence for the offshore wind industry,” BOEM Director Amanda Lefton, said in a statement. “At the same time, we want to reduce potential conflicts as much as we can while meeting the Administration’s goal to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030. This means we will engage early and often with all stakeholders prior to identifying any new Wind Energy Areas.”

In addition to identifying new offshore wind lease sales, BOEM is considering new lease stipulations consistent with the goals and objectives of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, such as lessee reporting requirements on efforts to minimize conflicts with other ocean users; mechanisms for project labor agreements; and investments in the U.S. domestic supply chain. Such stipulations were included in the New York Bight proposed sale notice announced in June.

Earlier this year, BOEM completed review of a construction and operations plan (COP) for the Vineyard Wind project. The agency said it is reviewing nine additional construction and operations plans and aims to complete the review of at least another six by 2025, for a total of at least 16 construction and operations plans reviews representing more than 19 GW of clean energy.

PJM Details Responses To Offshore Wind Solicitation

Separately, the PJM Interconnection said it has received 80 proposals in response to a solicitation it issued last November for transmission projects that could help connect planned offshore wind projects to PJM’s wholesale power grid.

The proposals were submitted under the State Agreement Approach provision of PJM’s Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP), which typically is driven by reliability or market-efficiency criteria.

The State Agreement Approach provides an avenue for incorporating public policy goals into the RTEP process. It enables a state, or group of states, to propose a project to assist in realizing public policy requirements as long as the state, or states, agrees to pay all costs of any state-selected buildout included in the RTEP. Those costs would be recovered from customers in those states.

New Jersey has set a goal of delivering 7,500 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind generation by 2035. So far, the state has awarded contracts for a total 3,758 MW of wind power projects and has three more solicitations pending.

The projects submitted to PJM included 45 proposals to upgrade existing onshore facilities, 22 proposals for new onshore transmission connection facilities, 26 proposals for new offshore transmission facilities, and eight proposals for offshore networks.

The submitted proposals will be evaluated by PJM and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, which are expected to render a decision in the second half of 2022.