A federal wind auction is being held on March 16 for 122,405 acres offshore Kitty Hawk, N.C., the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has announced.
According to Sally Jewell, DOI secretary, this latest auction represents the “growing market demand for renewable energy and strong industry interest in meeting that demand.”
To date, the DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has held six offshore wind lease sales, which have generated over $58 million in high bids for more than 1 million acres in federal waters.
The Kitty Hawk lease area begins about 24 nautical miles from the shore and extends 25.7 nautical miles in a general southeast direction. Its seaward extent ranges from 13.5 nautical miles in the north to .6 of a nautical mile in the south. (A map of the lease area can be found here.)
The announcement also identifies nine companies that BOEM has deemed legally, technically and financially qualified to participate in the upcoming lease sale: Avangrid Renewables LLC, Enbridge Holdings (Green Energy) LLC, Shell WindEnergy Inc., Northland Power America Inc., Wind Future LLC, Outer Banks Ocean Energy LLC, PNE Wind USA Inc., Statoil Wind US LLC and wpd offshore Alpha LLC.
In September 2015, BOEM published a revised environmental assessment (EA) for commercial wind lease issuance and related activities within the three North Carolina offshore wind energy areas (WEAs): Kitty Hawk, Wilmington East and Wilmington West.
As a result of the analysis in the revised EA, BOEM issued a Finding of No Significant Impact, which concluded that reasonably foreseeable environmental effects associated with the issuance of commercial wind leases and related activities would not significantly impact the environment. The Wilmington East and Wilmington West WEAs, due to their proximity and shared attributes, have been coupled with the planning and leasing process for the South Carolina call areas.
“This is a significant milestone for North Carolina and our country as we continue to make progress on diversifying our nation’s energy portfolio,” comments Walter Cruickshank, acting director of BOEM.