Carolina offshore wind auction draws $315 million

(WASHINGTON) — The Department of the Interior on Wednesday announced results from its wind energy auction in the Carolina Long Bay area, the second major offshore wind lease sale this year and a significant milestone toward achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) lease sale offered two lease areas covering 110,091 acres in the Carolina Long Bay area offshore North Carolina and South Carolina. If fully developed, the leases could result in about 1.3 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, enough to power about 500,000 homes. The sale drew competitive winning bids from two companies totaling $315 million.

BOEM graphic

TotalEnergies Renewables USA was the winning bidder, at $160 million, for lease area OCS-A 0545, which comprises 54,937 acres. Duke Energy Renewables Wind was the winning bidder, at $155 million, for the 55,154-acre lease area OCS-A 0546.

The Carolina Long Bay offshore wind auction included a new 20 percent 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,” said 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.”

A better trained and larger domestic offshore wind workforce will provide more efficient operations with an increase of fully trained personnel. Similarly, a more robust domestic supply chain will reduce the upfront capital or certification cost for manufacturing offshore wind components, including the building of facilities, the purchasing of capital equipment, and the certifying of existing manufacturing facilities. Additional details on requirements and restrictions related to the bidding credit are located on BOEM’s website.

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 (FSN). The two lease areas include similar acreage, distance to shore, and wind resource potential.

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.

More information about the sale, including a map of the lease areas, can be found by clicking here.

– Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

By Rich Miller