The Department of the Interior today announced the results of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) offshore wind sale off the coast of North Carolina in the Carolina Long Bay area. These results are a major milestone towards achieving the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of reaching 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, and North Carolina’s goal of reaching 2.8 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030. Today’s lease sale offered two lease areas totaling 110,091 acres in the Carolina Long Bay area approximately 20 miles off the coast of Bald Head Island, NC. The two lease areas have the potential to support at least 1.3 gigawatts of offshore wind, enough wind energy to power approximately 500,000 homes.
The lease sale drew winning bids from two of companies totalling approximately $315 million. A recent analysis published by the Southeastern Wind Coalition (SEWC) with support from Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) shows that constructing 2.8-gigawatts of offshore wind off North Carolina’s coast by 2030 will result in a net economic benefit of up to $4.6 billion for the state’s economy. According to The Special Initiative for Offshore Wind’s 2021 Supply Chain Contracting Forecast, offshore wind is projected to create over $109 billion in economic output, with approximately $90 billion of that output focused in the manufacturing supply chain. With 55 companies already involved in the land based wind supply chain, North Carolina is well positioned to take advantage of this once-in-a-generation economic opportunity.
SEWC applauds BOEM’s decision to divide the Carolina Long Bay area into two leases, allowing for increased economic benefit to the state through additional competition. “We are incredibly excited to work with Total Energies Renewables USA and Duke Energy Renewables Wind to bring offshore wind development to the Carolinas. The announcement of two provisional lease winners increases the opportunity for economic development to support the offshore wind industry in North Carolina and across the East Coast.” said SEWC’s Katharine Kollins. “Investments from two developers means increased supply chain investment and recruitment, workforce development and thousands of good-paying jobs, and infrastructure development that will support other North Carolina industries.”
Kollins added “Duke Energy has been signaling interest in offshore wind and the announcement of the company as a lease holder provides a clear path for this clean energy to power the homes and businesses of North Carolina, as well as meeting carbon reduction goals laid out in HB951. We will work with Duke Energy and state leadership to ensure development on a timeline that advances the Governor’s goal 2.8GW of offshore wind by 2030, brings unparalleled economic investment to the state, and offers competitive electricity prices to Duke customers.”
Submitted by Karly Lohan, Communication and Outreach Associate, Southeastern Wind Coalition