Plans for Up To 12 Offshore Wind Auctions Announced by US

Offshore wind farm propellers
Updated Published

US Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland has unveiled a new five-year plan for offshore wind energy development, which proposes up to 12 potential offshore wind energy lease sales through 2028.

This new schedule outlines four potential offshore lease sales for 2024, with one scheduled for each of the following years: 2025 and 2026. The plan will continue with two sales in 2027 and another four in 2028.

Previously, in 2021, the US had established an offshore wind leasing plan that extended through 2025. Under the latest plan, the lease rounds in 2024 are slated for the Central Atlantic, the Gulf of Maine, the Gulf of Mexico, and Oregon. 

The subsequent years will see leases in the Gulf of Mexico and the Central Atlantic in 2025 and 2026 respectively. In 2027, leases will be available in the Gulf of Mexico and the New York Bight. The final year covered by the plan, 2028, will feature leases for wind projects in California, a US Territory, the Gulf of Maine, and Hawaii.

Since the beginning of the Biden-Harris administration, the Department has approved the nation’s first eight commercial-scale offshore wind projects and conducted four offshore wind lease auctions. To date, the US has authorized over 10GW of offshore wind projects.

“Our offshore wind leasing schedule will provide predictability to help developers and communities plan ahead and will provide the confidence needed to continue building on the tremendous offshore wind supply chain and manufacturing investments that we’ve already seen,” stated Secretary Deb Haaland.

Erik Milito, President of the National Ocean Industries Association, while supportive of the new plan, highlighted the need for more offshore oil and gas lease sales. Over the next five years, only three such sales are planned, which pales in comparison to the proposed offshore wind lease sales.

“Any actions to delay or reduce Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sales could inadvertently delay offshore wind lease sales. Periods of inactivity in lease sales — whether for wind or oil and gas — only increase uncertainty and risk driving investment dollars overseas. Sustaining regular lease sales for all energy sources ensures energy continuity, promotes economic growth, and maintains America’s competitiveness in the global energy market,” Milito remarked.

He also praised the Interior’s announcement and called on Congress to continue bipartisan efforts to legislate regular offshore lease sales for both oil and gas and wind energy.

Recently, the US offshore wind industry faced setbacks when the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority canceled three projects from its third solicitation round.

In response to these challenges, the Interior, along with the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, have introduced revised regulations for renewable energy development on the US Outer Continental Shelf. 

These updated rules, expected to save the offshore wind industry approximately $1.9 billion over the next 20 years, aim to streamline the development process.