ACP: Next Round of Offshore Wind Leases Could Add $85B to GDP

american clean power
File image courtesy Orsted

Published Dec 9, 2021 11:56 PM by The Maritime Executive

A new study from the American Clean Power Association suggests that the Biden administration's plans for another round of offshore lease auctions could lead to $120 billion in investment and up to 128,000 jobs during construction. These new areas could support another 23-40 GW of offshore wind capacity - in addition to the 25 GW capacity potential of existing lease areas off the U.S. East Coast. 

According to ACP, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) proposal for seven new lease auction rounds - covering waters off California, Oregon, the Carolinas, New York, Maine, the mid-Atlantic and the U.S. Gulf - could generate up to $4.5 billion in federal revenue and add up to $85 billion to the GDP (over six years). 

"Harnessing America’s offshore wind resources will create tens of thousands of highly-skilled jobs, revitalize coastal communities, and deliver vast amounts of reliable clean energy to our biggest population centers," said ACP CEO Heather Zichal. "We hope its findings will inform discussions around the beneficial use of BOEM revenue, as well as efforts to establish a more durable and predictable leasing and project pipeline."

BOEM would get revenue from the sale of the leases in the short term, plus rents and operating fees after project development. Depending on the amount of acreage leased, BOEM could bring in a total of $2.7-4.5 billion in new revenue over the coming decades. 

The biggest economic opportunities are in the New York Bight and the Central Atlantic, which have by far the largest potential for job creation and earnings. The biggest unknowns are in the Gulf of Maine, Gulf of Mexico, Central Atlantic and Oregon regions, where BOEM has not yet finished specifying the size and location of potential lease areas.