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U.S. to Auction Site Off Jersey Shore for Offshore Wind

The U.S. Department of the Interior plans to auction about 344,000 acres off the coast of New Jersey for offshore wind energy development.

A fully developed New Jersey Wind Energy Area may provide as much as 3.4 gigawatts of power, enough for 1.2 million homes, the department said today in an e-mailed statement. A 60-day public comment period on the proposed sale ends Sept. 19, the same day as the deadline for companies to submit applications.

There are no offshore wind farms in U.S. waters and the agency is seeking to encourage development. Efforts to install turbines at sea are moving slowly in the U.S. and in other regions. China is three years behind schedule on a plan to build as much as 5 gigawatts of sea-based wind power, and developers in Europe have scrapped plans for 5.7 gigawatts since November.

“New Jersey has the offshore wind resources to be a national leader in clean energy generation and this announcement is an important step in that direction,” Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, said in the statement.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has awarded five commercial-scale leases, including three competitive bids that raised about $5.4 million, for offshore wind projects stretching across almost 278,000 acres of federal water from Massachusetts to Virginia.

The Interior Department announced July 2 plans to auction 80,000 acres off the coast of Maryland for offshore wind farms.

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