The federal government Monday awarded two leases to build wind farms off the South Jersey coast, a step that could lead to harnessing ocean winds to provide power to over a million homes.

In an auction held by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the agency selected RES America Inc. and U.S. Wind Inc. as provisional winners who paid $880,715 and $1,006,240, respectively, for the leases.

The lease sale follow years of unsuccessfully trying to develop wind farms off the coast, delays that frustrated clean-energy advocates, wind developers, and lawmakers.

Industry insiders questions on how close New Jersey really is to getting some of its power from offshore windmills. Some believe the projects will never see fruition without state subsidies.

"Even with this auction, the wind companies will have a hard time being able to develop their wind farms, because New Jersey hasn’t put the rules in place for financing offshore projects,” Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club told The Press of Atlantic City.
This video shows the process of developing offshore winds farms...