In late February, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the results of the New York Bight auction.
The auction covered six offshore lease areas spanning a total area of 1,900 km2. The auction ran for three days and 64 rounds with awards finally made to six developers for a total $4.4 billion.
Winning developers included many joint ventures: OW Ocean Winds (EDP Renewables x ENGIE), Bight Wind Holdings (RWE x National Grid), Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind LLC (EDF x Shell), and Attentive Energy (TotalEnergies x EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG). EnBW later pulled out of the Attentive Energy venture, making TotalEnergies the sole owner of the lease.
The lease areas themselves have been the furthest from shore yet to be awarded and are expected to be utilised for fixed-bottom wind projects. Distances vary between 41km (OCS-A 0541 and OCS-A 0544) to 79km (OCS-A 0538) making an average of 68km - higher than other US wind farms which average 38km, and the global average of 30km. As these New York Bight projects are expected to be commissioned by 2030-35, it remains in line with trends observed by SpinWind analysts. As projects grow in size with more turbines, wind farms are moving further from shore.
Water depths at the New York Bight awarded licences average 43.5m which is higher than any other fixed-bottom US wind farm. In comparison, the average water depth was 60m for fixed-bottom projects on the recently awarded Scotwind leases in the UK. This also remains in line with the global trend of steadily increasing water depths for such projects.
Capacity estimates higher than BOEM expectations
The winning developers, except Invenergy LLC, quickly published their capacity estimates from their lease areas - which, unsurprisingly, were two to four times higher than BOEM's initial estimates. The latter was estimated at a factor of 3 MW/km2. - already significantly lower than the market standard of 7.9 MW/km2.
Continued enthusiasm for the US market
Furthermore, the lease will see some of the farthest-from-shore and deepest fixed-bottom wind farms come to life. It is also interesting to note the continuing investor enthusiasm in the US market which consistently manages to raise unprecedented funds. The three successive lease rounds in US history, have had an almost logarithmic growth in the investments the developers have committed.
Read more: How the Carolina Long Bay and NT Bight auctions compare and why it matters
The Bight lease round is a definitive testament to developer enthusiasm for the US market, it also raises stakes in a market that is yet to build its first commercial project.
To find out more about this topic, and how Spinergie’s solutions can help you optimize your operations and reduce your carbon footprint, schedule a demo with our team.