(The Center Square) – The federal government wants to lease land in shallow water between Long Island and the New Jersey coast for offshore commercial wind energy development and the creation of union jobs.
The feds say the land, located on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in the New York Bight, could enable more than 7 gigawatts of offshore wind energy and power more than 2.6 million homes. In addition, officials said the plan would support President Joe Biden’s goal of installing 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030.
The proposed “competitive lease sale” includes a 60-day public comment period, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is seeking feedback on several mandates tied to the sale, including the requirement “to create good-paying union jobs and engage with all stakeholders and ocean users,” according to a news release.
The “announcement of new proposed lease stipulations puts a priority on creating and sustaining good-paying union jobs as we build a clean energy economy,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in a news release, saying that climate change “poses an existential threat.”
According to a notice in the Federal Register, the green light of a lease does not include the “approval of project-specific plans to develop offshore wind energy.” Additionally, any project plans would be subjected to “subsequent environmental, technical, and public reviews.”
“The New York Bight is a prime example of how regional cooperation, partnerships, and stakeholder feedback can come together to identify areas suitable for offshore wind development,” BOEM Director Amanda Lefton said in a news release.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo came out in favor of the move, praising the potential for new jobs and outside investment.
"The development of green energy resources is one of the most critical components in winning the global fight against climate change and the Biden Administration should be commended for moving swiftly to advance offshore wind power in the New York Bight," Cuomo said in a news release Friday. "The lease areas identified today will not only support the generation of approximately 7,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy, helping New York meet its nation-leading goal of 9,000 megawatts by 2035, but also unlock the potential for 10,000 jobs and billions of dollars in private investments in New York alone."
BOEM has held eight “competitive lease sales” and issued 17 active commercial offshore wind leases along the Atlantic Coast between Massachusetts and North Carolina.