NC - More Offshore Wind Power Coming to the Carolinas' Coast

It’s called the Carolina Long Bay wind energy area.It covers 110,091 acres of ocean, roughly 15 miles offshore from Brunswick County. The entire area sits roughly straight out from the North Carolina-South Carolina border.

And it appears North Carolina’s largest electric utility and a French oil company won the auction on Wednesday, May 11, to lease a pair of sites wind energy production.

The Department of the Interior says TotalEnergies Renewables USA, LLC bid $160 million to win the right to build an offshore wind farm in the westernmost 54,937 acre section of the area. Duke Energy Renewables Wind, LLC won the bid for the easternmost 55,124 acre area, with a $155 million bid.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says the area together, if developed, could generate 1.3 gigawatts or more of energy, enough to power nearly 500,000 homes.

“Investments from the two developers mean increased supply chain investment and recruitment, workforce development and thousands of good-paying jobs and infrastructure development that will support other North Carolina industries," said Katharine Kollins, President of the Southeastern Wind Coalition, in a statement.

Federal officials called the auction a significant step towards the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030.

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“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 in the announcement of the sale. “Today’s sale is further proof that there is a strong industry interest and that America’s clean energy transition is here.”

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has set targets of 2.8 gigawatts of wind energy generated off of the NC coast by 2030 and 8 gigawatts by 2040.

If developed, the newest proposed offshore wind farm would not be visible from shore.

Duke Energy officials estimate it will take about 10 years to develop the site. A site assessment plan, looking at how Duke will evaluate the wind energy potential of the area, will be developed during the next year.

TotalEnergies, the French energy company that won the other lease, reports it is considering developing floating wind energy platforms. The firm is building similar offshore wind farms in France, the United Kingdom, and in South Korea.

TotalEnergies is also building an offshore wind project off of the New York-New Jersey coast.

Back in 2017, the wind energy company Avangrid paid $9 million for a lease off of Kitty Hawk. It is expected to begin operations by the end of the decade.

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