The U.S. will hold its second offshore wind lease auction on May 11, for the rights to develop two areas off the Carolinas. This will be before the former President Donald Trump’s moratorium on offshore wind leasings takes effect.
The timing of this auction for the Carolina Long offshore wind energy is deliberate. A 10-year moratorium signed in July by former President Donald Trump will prohibit offshore wind leasing from the area that stretches from North Carolina to Florida.
BOEM published the Final Sale Notice (FSN), March 25, for the Wilmington East Wind Energy Area. Qualified offshore wind developers are eligible to bid for the rights to develop one of the lease areas.
BOEM will provide 20% credit as part of FSN to bidders who invest to develop U.S. offshore renewable energy workforce development and supply chain development programs. The Department of Energy expects that offshore wind development in the U.S. could create 43,000 jobs by 2030 to support the Biden administration’s goal of developing 30 GW of offshore wind.
“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to supporting a robust clean energy economy, and the upcoming Carolina Long Bay offshore wind energy auction provides yet another excellent opportunity to strengthen the clean energy industry while creating good-paying union jobs,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.
BOEM announced 16 companies pre-approved for bidding on the Carolina Long Bay offshore Wind Leases.
The companies are 547 Energy, Arevia Power, Avangrid Renewables, bp, Invenergy, Carolina Offshore Wind, Duke Energy, EDF Renewables, JERA Renewables, Masdar Offshore Wind, MRP Offshore Wind Farm, Ørsted, Ocean Winds, RWE, Shell, and TotalEnergies.
There’s no time to waste
Both the National Ocean Industries Association as well as the Consumer Energy Alliance called for Congress to pass legislation that would lift the Trump-era ban offshore wind leases.
Erik Milito, President NOIA, said that overturning the moratorium was “non-controversial” and stated that language in both the America Competes Act (and the Build Back Better Act) would have allowed offshore wind leasing.
Milito stated that Congress leaders should continue to work bipartisanly to pass legislation that overturns this moratorium and allows for future lease sales.
Keep the momentum going
Carolina Long Bay offshore wind lease auction follows a record-setting New York Bight auction which generated $4.37 billion in winning bids.
The 488,000 acres of New York Bight are expected to have an installed capacity of between 5.6 GW to 7 GW. This is enough to power 2,000,000 homes. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), however, stated that the capacity could rise depending on how development plans are developed.
New York Bight was the Biden administration’s first offshore wind lease auction and the first for the U.S. since 2018. The auction for development rights off Massachusetts set the previous record at $135.1 Million for an individual lease sale and $405 million for an overall auction.
The $4.37 billion secured for the New York Bight auction is “more than three times the revenue received from all U.S. offshore oil and gas lease auctions over the past five years,” according to a report by Reuters.
Many of the New York Bight winning bidders are expected to also participate in the Carolina Long Bay Lease Auction.
The Central and Northern California lease auctions are expected to follow the Carolina Long Bay Auction this fall.