RES America and US Wind win in New Jersey auction

UNITED STATES: RES America Developments and US Wind placed the winning bids to develop two zones in the 3.4GW New Jersey offshore auction.

US Wind has provisionally won the New Jersey north lease (yellow), and RES the south (green)

RES bid $880,715 for the 160,480-acre (649 square kilometres) south lease area. US Wind bid $1,006,240 for the 183,353-acre (742 square kilometres) north lease area. US Wind is part of Italy’s wind project developer Renexia.

If fully developed, the two leased areas could support a total of 3.4GW of commercial wind generation, said the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), part of the government's Interior Department. The zone is located 7km off the New Jersey coast, on the US' mid-Atlantic coast.

Participants had to register in advance and then could bid for the contract to lease one of the two parts of the site, committing to pay a set amount to BOEM, over which they would have to achieve a profit through the project development. 

Thirteen companies qualified to participate in the auction. Developers included EDF Renewable Energy, Fishermen's Energy, Iberdrola Renewables, OffshoreMW, US Mainstream Renewable Power, US Wind and RES America.

"Today’s auction underscores the emerging market demand for renewable energy and marks another major step in standing up a sustainable offshore wind programme for Atlantic coast communities," said Sally Jewell, US secretary of the interior.

Fishermen’s Energy also participated in the lease sale, which went seven rounds, but it did not win. The developer is working on the nearby Fishermen's Atlantic City Windfarm (FACW) demonstration project 4.5 kilometres off Atlantic City, New Jersey.

BOEM has now awarded nine commercial offshore wind leases: two offshore off Rhode Island-Massachusetts, another two off Massachusetts, two off Maryland, one off Virginia and these two in New Jersey.

RES, a subsidiary of the UK's Renewable Energy Systems, and US Wind have both previously won auctions off Massachusetts and Maryland respectively. RES ultimately sold its Massachusetts zone to Danish developer Dong Energy.

Overall, the lease sales have generated about $14.5 million in winning bids for the federal government for more than 700,000 acres [283 square kilometres] in federal waters.