The US just proposed 18 GW of new offshore wind sales

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The US announced two proposals for offshore wind sales that could generate more than 18 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy – enough to power more than 6 million homes.

New US offshore wind auction areas

The offshore wind auction areas announced by the US Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) are off the Oregon coast and in the Gulf of Maine. It’s the first in a five-year lease schedule that could see up to 12 separate offshore wind auctions.

The US has already held four offshore wind lease auctions in the New York–New Jersey region, off the Carolinas, and off the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts.

Gulf of Maine

The first-ever offshore wind energy auction in the Gulf of Maine would include eight lease areas off the Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire coasts. The nearly 1 million acres have the potential to generate approximately 15 GW of renewable energy and power more than 5 million homes.

This auction is exciting because BOEM wants to conduct simultaneous auctions for each of the eight lease areas using multiple-factor bidding.

In July 2023, Governor Janet Mills (D-ME) signed legislation to procure up to 3 GW of offshore wind energy in the Gulf of Maine by 2040. Offshore wind is banned in Maine state waters to protect the commercial lobster harvesting industry.

Oregon

The proposed lease sale in Oregon includes two lease areas totaling 194,995 acres – one in the Coos Bay Wind Energy Area and the other in the Brookings Wind Energy Area – which have the potential to power more than 1 million homes with renewable energy. The areas were finalized by BOEM in February.

The Coos Bay WEA is 61,204 acres and located approximately 32 miles from shore. The Brookings WEA is 133,808 acres and approximately 18 miles off the coast.

The state of Oregon has set a goal of achieving 3 GW of offshore wind by 2030.

Due to deep waters, any offshore wind farms in the Gulf of Maine and offshore Oregon will consist of floating wind turbines. 

Read more: California exceeds 100% of energy demand with renewables over a record 30 days


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