The Biden administration’s first offshore wind lease sale raked in an astonishing $4.37 billion in high bids — more than any offshore energy auction in U.S. history, including all oil and gas lease sales.
The record sale, which the Interior Department announced Friday, offered up six tracts totaling more than 488,000 acres in New York Bight, the waters between Long Island and the New Jersey coast.
The Biden administration called the blockbuster turnout a “major milestone” toward achieving its goal of securing 30 gigawatts, or 30,000 megawatts, of wind energy by 2030, enough to power 10 million homes for a year and cut 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
“This week’s offshore wind sale makes one thing clear: the enthusiasm for the clean energy economy is undeniable and it’s here to stay,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. “The investments we are seeing today will play an important role in delivering on the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to tackle the climate crisis and create thousands of good-paying, union jobs across the nation.”
When the auction closed Friday, the average price per acre stood at nearly $9,000. The largest tract of more than 125,000 acres sold to Bight Wind Holdings, LLC for $1.1 billion.
The renewable energy auction dwarfs recent offshore oil and gas lease sales, including one in November when 33 companies paid a total of $191 million for rights to drill for fossil fuels across more than 1.7 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico. A federal judge has since vacated those leases, concluding that the Biden administration failed to properly account for climate effects when it held its massive auction.
The Interior Department estimates that the areas auctioned off in New York Bight have the potential to support wind farms that power up to 2 million homes.
Ali Zaidi, deputy White House national climate adviser, called the wind lease sale “a big step towards cleaner electricity and a stronger domestic energy sector.”
“President Biden has long seen the opportunity embedded in taking on the climate crisis ― and we are chasing after that opportunity,” he said in a statement. “We have the chance to breathe life into idled ports, revitalize our industrial base, and build products here in America to harness the wind and sun.”