German developer PNE Wind AG and Norway’s Statoil ASA are asking the U.S. government to open additional sites for offshore wind farms off the coasts of New York and Massachusetts.
The sites south of Long Island, New York, and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, are near existing areas already designated for offshore development, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said in a statement Friday.
The unsolicited requests for offshore leases come amid growing interest in developing clean energy off the U.S. Atlantic coast. Statoil won an auction in December for a New York site after a two-day bidding war. The U.S. has awarded 11 other leases for projects to developers including Dong Energy A/S, and in August, Deepwater Wind LLC completed the first U.S. offshore wind farm, south of Rhode Island’s Block Island.
Offshore wind enjoyed strong support under the Obama administration, which outlined plans to encourage private development of 86,000 megawatts of capacity by 2050. It’s unclear whether the same will be true under President Donald Trump, who has derided wind power as ugly and overpriced. If the administration moves forward with PNE’s and Statoil’s requests, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will determine whether other companies are interested in the sites and, if necessary, hold competitive auctions for the leases.
PNE, based in Cuxhaven, Germany, proposed installing 400 megawatts of capacity on a 41,000 acre site (16,600 hectares) about 15 nautical miles (28 kilometers) south of Long Island. It’s about 10 nautical miles northeast of a 79,000-acre offshore wind area where Statoil won a lease in December.
PNE and Statoil, of Stavanger, Norway, both requested leases to build at least 400 megawatts in Massachusetts, on adjacent sites with a total of about 390,000 acres, about 30 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. The sites abut areas leased for development by Dong and Offshore MW, which is owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.