Written by Staff Reports Friday, July 18, 2014 12:20 pm
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“Responsible offshore wind energy development has the potential to create jobs, expand our domestic clean energy resources, and strengthen our nation’s economic competitiveness,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell in making the announcement.
Jewell called it a “testament to the true collaboration and commitment from New Jersey for harnessing clean energy, and it reflects extensive consultations with a number of local communities and stakeholders to minimize conflicts and bring clarity and certainty to potential wind energy developers.”
BOEM proposes to auction the Wind Energy Area as two leases: the South Lease Area (160,480 acres) and the North Lease Area (183,353 acres). The Wind Energy Area begins about seven nautical miles off the coast of Atlantic City.
To date, BOEM has awarded five commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic coast: two non-competitive leases (Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound off Massachusetts and an area off Delaware) and three competitive leases (two offshore Massachusetts-Rhode Island and another offshore Virginia).
Competitive lease sales have generated about $5.4 million in high bids for about 277,550 acres in federal waters. BOEM expects to hold additional competitive auctions for wind energy areas offshore Maryland in August and Massachusetts in the coming year.
Based on an analysis prepared for BOEM by the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the New Jersey Wind Energy Area, if fully developed, could support up to 3,400 megawatts of commercial wind generation, enough to power about 1.2 million homes, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy management identified the New Jersey Wind Energy Area in consultation with a New Jersey Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, which includes federal, state, tribal, and local government representatives.
The proposed sale notice, to be published in the Federal Register on July 21, 2014, will include a 60-day public comment period ending on Sept. 19, 2014. Comments received or postmarked by that date will be made available to the public and considered before the publication of the final sale notice, which will announce the time and date of the lease sale.
The end of the comment period also serves as the deadline for any companies wishing to participate in the lease sale.
BOEM will host a public seminar on Aug. 6, 2014, to describe and explain the auction. The time and place have yet to be announced.
Jewell said the sale is part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to create American jobs, develop domestic clean energy sources and cut carbon pollution.
“We are another important step closer to harnessing the enormous potential of wind energy off New Jersey’s shores – a resource that could power more than 1 million homes,” Jewell said.
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez said the project is welcomed news.
“New Jersey has the offshore wind resources to be a national leader in clean energy generation and this announcement is an important step in that direction,” said Menendez said. “A robust offshore wind industry in New Jersey will mean jobs and less pollution.”
Walter Cruickshank, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management acting director, said the key to responsible offshore development is “substantial stakeholder engagement to identify and address any concerns early in the process.
“Members of the New Jersey Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force have demonstrated leadership and foresight in making sure that the wind energy planning process considers input from many important stakeholders, including industry, environmental organizations, and the maritime community,” Cruickshank said.
Public comments for the New Jersey Proposed Sale Notice may be submitted at regulations.gov under Docket No. BOEM-2014-0029.
For more information see boem.gov/State-Activities-New-Jersey/.
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