U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank announced the completion of the nation’s seventh competitive lease sale for renewable wind energy in federal waters. A Wind Energy Area of 122,405 acres offshore Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, received the high bid of $9,066,650 from Avangrid Renewables, LLC, the provisional winner.
Also participating in the lease sale were Wind Future LLC, Statoil Wind US LLC, and wpd offshore Alpha LLC.
"The success of this lease sale reflects the continued interest of coastal communities to develop their offshore energy resources," Zinke said. "Renewable energy, like offshore wind, is one tool in the all-of-the-above energy toolbox that will help power America with domestic energy, securing energy independence, and bolstering the economy. This is a big win for collaborative efforts with state, local, and private-sector partners."
Before Thursday, BOEM had held six competitive lease sales, which generated $58 million in high bids for more than 1 million acres in federal waters, including a lease sale for 79,000 acres offshore New York that generated a winning bid of $42.5 million. BOEM also recently marked the operational launch of the nation’s first commercial offshore wind farm — the five-turbine, 30-MW Block Island Wind Facility developed by Deepwater Wind for $290 million.
BOEM has been working with the North Carolina Renewable Energy Task Force since 2010 to identify an area of sufficient size for offshore wind development, while avoiding ecologically sensitive areas and multiple-use conflicts. The North Carolina lease area, designated OCS-A 0508, begins about 24 nautical miles from shore and extends 25.7 nautical miles in a general southeast direction. Its seaward extent ranges from 13.5 nautical miles in the north to .6 of a nautical mile in the south. A map of the lease area can be found here.
“Today’s auction is a historic moment for North Carolina and the Southeast,” said Katharine Kollins, president of the Southeastern Wind Coalition. “This auction saw several bidders late into the auction’s rounds, demonstrating the industry’s intense interest in this area. Not only does this lease demonstrate the financial commitment from the industry to developing an offshore wind farm off North Carolina’s coast, it also insures North Carolina’s economy will benefit from the hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment the wind farm will ultimately generate.”
Using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s estimates of 3 MW per square kilometer, the lease area has a potential generating capacity of 1,486 MW, enough energy to power more than 500,000 homes. The actual size of the wind-energy project will be determined by the developer.
Before the lease is executed, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission will conduct a review of the auction, and the provisional winner will be required to pay the winning bid and provide financial assurance to BOEM. The lease will have a preliminary term of one year, during which the lessee may submit a Site Assessment Plan (SAP) to BOEM for approval. The SAP will describe the facilities (e.g., meteorological towers or buoys) the lessee plans to install or deploy for the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions of its commercial lease area.
Following approval of the SAP, the lessee will then have four and a half years to submit a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) to BOEM for approval. This plan will provide a detailed proposal for the construction and operation of a wind-energy project within the lease area.
Once BOEM receives a COP, it will conduct an environmental review of the proposed project and reasonable alternatives. Public input will be an important part of BOEM’s review process. If BOEM approves the COP, the lessee will then have a term of 25 years to construct and operate the project.
Source: U.S. Department of the Interior, Southeastern Wind Coalition
For more information, go to www.boem.gov/north-carolina/