The developers have bet more than $ 3 billion on the purchase of rent for the construction of offshore wind farms along the coasts of New Jersey and New York, reflecting the rush to make money on what is becoming a lucrative green energy sector.

At the current auction, conducted by the Biden administration, offshore windmill developers are seeking rights to build wind turbines in six districts with a total area of ​​more than 488,000 acres in New York Bay to provide enough electricity for up to 2 million homes.

Even if the auction is not over yet, the reaction is so overwhelming that it is likely to be confirmed by President Joe Biden, the governors of New Jersey and New York and clean energy supporters who are aggressively pursuing aggressive goals to create a reliable offshore wind industry. as a fulcrum in the fight against climate change.

“Offshore wind is the winner,” said Doug O’Malley, New Jersey’s director of the environment, one of many environmental groups that single out the sea wind as an alternative way to generate electricity instead of natural gas and fossil fuels.

“Offshore wind is the biggest clean energy opportunity in America right now,” he added. “It’s clean energy right off the coast in the busiest metropolitan area of ​​the country. These are fascinating numbers. “

Steep bidding for six leased territories

The auction, the largest ever conducted by the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, began early Wednesday and lasted until Thursday. It will begin Friday morning at 9 p.m. Upon completion the agency will announce the winners of each of the six lease zones. Developers can win only one lease at auction.

At the end of the auction on Thursday, at least a dozen developers were still submitting ever-growing bids in the 45th round of bidding. Applications ranged from $ 140 million for one lease to $ 900 million for another. The initial round of trading on Wednesday began at $ 4.3 million to $ 12.6 million for certain leased territories.

“This is illustrative of how much interest there is in government incentives causing a relatively new industry,” said Paul Patterson, an energy analyst at Glenrock Associates in New York City.

In this case, government incentives are funded by utility customers, who will pay an additional fee for their monthly bills as soon as offshore wind farms begin to supply electricity to homes and businesses. In New Jersey, the state approved three offshore wind farms. The first, a 1,100-megawatt wind farm near Atlantic City, is expected to be operational by 2025.

Beware of unintended consequences

“We all know that switching to clean energy will cost payers money,” said Raymond Cantor, vice president of the New Jersey Business Industry Association, an organization that has expressed concern about the issue. “It is important that we understand all the costs that are part of the overall energy plan so that we can make smart decisions in the future.”

For fans, the sea wind is seen as one of the most effective ways to combat climate change, stimulate economic growth and create jobs in the green economy. Gov. Phil Murphy wants to develop 7,500 megawatts off the coast of Jersey by 2035; New York has set a goal of 9,000 megawatts. The Biden administration aims to install 30 gigawatts of sea windmills nationwide by 2030.

At the last auction the offered areas for rent are in the range of 27 to 53 nautical miles off the coast of Jersey. The first three state-approved wind farms were 15 to 20 miles offshore.

The auction drew criticism from Clean Ocean Action, one of New Jersey’s best-known conservation groups, which called selling the lease too much, too fast. “The ocean is much more valuable as an ecosystem, so we need to minimize industrialization and make sure it protects marine life,” said Cindy Zipf, its chief executive.

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