DOI Approves Wind Leases off New Jersey Coast

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) will lease nearly 344,000 acres of ocean area off the coast of New Jersey for commercial wind energy generation.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), an agency within the U.S. Department of Interior, plans to sell the leases in an auction on November 9, 2015.

The New Jersey wind area consists of two contiguous parcels located about seven nautical miles from shore on the Outer Continental Shelf. The southern lease area includes 160,480 acres and the north lease area has 183,353 acres.

In 2010, the New Jersey state legislature passed the Offshore Wind and Economic Development Act, which established an offshore renewable energy certificate program that requires a percentage of power sold in the state to come from offshore wind farms. However, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has yet to develop the rules for implementing the law.

Meanwhile, in July, construction began on a 30-megawatt (MW) offshore wind farm located off the coast of Rhode Island. Deepwater Wind is developing the $225 million offshore wind project, which will provide electricity to Block Island and Rhode Island mainland consumers.

"On the heels of this summer's historic 'steel-in-the-water' milestone for the nation's first commercial offshore wind farm, today's announcement marks another major step in standing up a sustainable offshore wind program for Atlantic coast communities," said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in a statement.

The BOEM has awarded nine commercial offshore wind leases for more than 700,000 acres in federal waters. Two of the nine offshore leases cover areas off the coasts of both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, another two leases cover areas off the coast of Massachusetts only, two of the federal leases cover areas off the coast of Maryland and one of the leases covers an area located off the coast of Virginia.

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