The Department of the Interior announced results yesterday from its wind energy auction in the Carolina Long Bay area, the second major offshore wind lease sale this year. Yesterday’s sale drew competitive winning bids from two companies, TotalEnergies Renewables USA LLC and Duke Energy Renewables Wind LLC, totaling $315 million.
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 Biden-Harris administration is moving forward at the pace and scale required to help achieve the president’s goals to make offshore wind energy a reality for the United States,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “Together with an all-of-government approach, we can combat the effects of climate change while creating good-paying union jobs that can benefit underserved communities. Today’s lease sale is further proof that there is strong industry interest and that America’s clean energy transition is here.”
PROVISIONAL WINNER LEASE AREA ACRES WINNING BID
TotalEnergies Renewables OCS-A 0545 54,937 $160 million
Duke Energy Renewables OCS-A 0546 55,154 $155 million
“Securing this lease creates optionality for future offshore wind if the North Carolina Utilities Commission determines it’s part of the least cost path to achieve 70 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero by 2050,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “As we continue to assess the area and project potential, we look forward to listening and learning from diverse stakeholders and community members in the region to ensure we are being thoughtful about all aspects of the potential project.”
Duke Energy will file its proposed carbon plan with the North Carolina Utilities Commission on May 16, which includes multiple scenarios for the Commission to consider as it finalizes its carbon plan by the end of 2022. Wind energy is one of a number of carbon-free technologies Duke Energy is evaluating to reduce carbon emissions on its system.
For TotalEnergies, this new lease award follows the award in February of a lease to develop a 3-GW wind farm off the coast of New York and New Jersey.
“Being awarded this lease, our second offshore wind project in the U.S., demonstrates the strength of our commitment to the country and to our transformation in a multienergy company," said Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies. "This project adds to our portfolio of more than 10 GW gross capacity of renewable projects in operation, in construction and in development in the U.S. It is one more step towards our objective of reaching 100 GW of renewable electricity generation worldwide by 2030."
“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,” American Clean Power Association CEO Heather Zichal, said in a statement. “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.”
'With three separate wind projects now in the area, and potentially more on the way, the Carolinas are positioned to be the next American offshore wind hub. Today's winning bids were each more than seventeen times larger than the winning bid from the Kitty Hawk offshore wind lease sale just five years ago," National Ocean Industries Association President Erik Milito said in a statement. "We're seeing the maturation of the market and an optimistic outlook for offshore wind in areas beyond our Northeastern states. A stronger supply chain, with new jobs and investments, will stretch through the Carolinas and communities throughout our nation."
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,” 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.”
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 today’s sale, including a map of the lease areas, can be found on BOEM’s website.