US outlines plans for new offshore wind leases by 2025

US government agency BOEM kicks off process to sell seven new leases off the east coast, California and Gulf of Mexico

US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the new leases areas at the American Clean Power Association’s offshore conference (pic: DoI)

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) could hold up to seven new offshore wind lease sales by 2025, US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland told delegates at the American Clean Power Association’s (ACP) Offshore Wind Power Conference & Exhibition in Boston, Massachusetts.

The wind leases are planned for the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, Central Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, as well as off the Carolinas, California and Oregon.

“The interior department is laying out an ambitious roadmap as we advance the administration’s plans to confront climate change, create [well-paid] jobs, and accelerate the nation’s transition to a cleaner energy future,” said Haaland. The Biden-Harris administration has a goal to deploy 30GW of offshore wind energy by 2030.

“This timetable provides two crucial ingredients for success: increased certainty and transparency. Together, we will meet our clean energy goals while addressing the needs of other ocean users and potentially impacted communities,” Haaland added.

“Harnessing America’s offshore wind resources will create tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs, revitalise coastal communities and deliver vast amounts of reliable clean energy,” said ACP chief executive Heather Zichal.

“The offshore wind industry looks forward to working to meet the administration’s ambitious but achievable goal to deploy 30GW of offshore wind by 2030 in order to reach 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035.”

BOEM is working on refining its process for identifying additional areas that may be suitable for offshore wind energy leasing and developing clear goals, objectives and guidelines that can be shared with government agencies and other stakeholders.

“We are working to facilitate a pipeline of projects that will establish confidence for the offshore wind industry,” said BOEM director Amanda Lefton. 

“Laying out clear, long-term development timelines, with specific locations, is exactly the kind of action that significantly strengthens investor confidence in the US offshore wind industry and attracts larger manufacturing facilities to our shores and harbors,” said Liz Burdock, president and chief executive of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, a non-profit focused on growing the offshore wind industry and its supply chain. 

BOEM’s Lefton also said that it was important to “reduce potential conflicts” by engaging early and often with all stakeholders. The leases are likely to include lessee reporting requirements on efforts to minimise conflicts with other ocean users. 

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