The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) lease sale offered two lease areas covering 110,091 acres offshore North Carolina and South Carolina. If fully developed, the leases could result in about 1.3 GW offshore wind energy, enough to power about 500,000 homes. This sale drew competitive winning bids from two companies totaling $315 million.
TotalEnergies Renewables USA LLC is the provisional winner for lease area OCS-A 0545, which is 54,937 acres, for $160 million. Duke Energy Renewables Wind LLC is the provisional winner for lease area OCS-A 0546, which is 55,154 acres, for $155 million.
The Carolina Long Bay offshore wind auction included a new 20% credit for bidders that committed to a monetary contribution to programs or initiatives that support workforce training programs for the offshore wind industry, development of a U.S. domestic supply chain for the offshore wind energy industry, or both. This credit will result in $42 million for these critical programs or initiatives.
“This auction puts real dollars on the table to support economic growth from offshore wind energy development – including the jobs that come with it,” comments BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “The new bidding credit in the Carolina Long Bay auction will result in tangible investments for workforce training and businesses in the United States, to ultimately create jobs in the U.S. across the industries needed to support achieving our offshore wind goals.”
To advance the Interior Department’s environmental justice goals, lessees are required to identify Tribal Nations, underserved communities, agencies, ocean users and other interested stakeholders and to report on their communication and engagement activities with these parties. These stipulations are intended to promote offshore wind energy development in a way that coexists with other ocean uses, addresses potential impacts and benefits, and protects the ocean environment.
“This lease sale shows the strong demand for clean energy, and it should also be a sign to Congress to repeal the 10-year moratorium on offshore wind leasing off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida,” adds Heather Zichal, American Clean Power Association’s CEO. “Creating a stable policy platform for offshore wind development and facilitating the first wave of significant projects will provide certainty for the industry, strengthen the workforce, and bolster domestic supply chains up and down the coasts and across the country.”
The Carolina Long Bay offshore wind energy auction allowed companies to bid on one or both of the lease areas within the Wilmington East Wind Energy Area, as described in the final sale notice. The two lease areas include similar acreage, distance to shore, and wind resource potential.
“America’s offshore wind industry and its supply chain took another significant step forward step with the successful Wilmington East lease auction,” says Liz Burdock, CEO and founder of the Business Network for Offshore Wind. “For the first time, the federal government used an auction system designed to spark investment directly into U.S. manufacturers, small businesses, shipbuilders and new workforce training, accelerating development of the already-emerging domestic supply chain. With global demand for offshore wind soaring, the U.S. must seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity and develop a robust domestic supply chain to secure our energy future.”
Before the leases are finalized, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission will conduct an anti-competitiveness review of the auction, and the provisional winners will be required to pay any balance on the winning bids and provide financial assurance to BOEM.