Feds to hold North Carolina offshore wind energy auction

Feds to hold North Carolina offshore wind energy auction

The Interior Department is preparing to lease more than 122,000 acres in North Carolina’s Atlantic Ocean for wind power. 

Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced Friday they plan to hold a lease auction for 122,405 acres in the Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area, a plot that begins 24 miles off the coast of North Carolina. If the sale takes place, companies will bid for the right to build wind energy installations there. 

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Officials will publish the leasing proposal in the Federal Register next week and hear public comments through October, at which point they will schedule the sale.  

“This is a great day for North Carolina and our country as we continue to make progress on diversifying our nation’s energy portfolio,” BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper said in a statement. 

“With the completion of a successful lease sale, North Carolina will move closer to obtaining substantial contributions to the region’s energy supply from offshore wind. Additionally, such supply will assist local governments in achieving their renewable energy goals.”

The proposal falls under an Obama administration initiative to grow wind energy in the United States, including offshore. 

BOEM has awarded 11 offshore wind leases, including nine through the bidding process, covering areas off the shores of New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia. 

Its most recent lease sale, in November, resulted in $1.8 million in winning bids from two companies looking to develop offshore wind farms on 344,000 acres off the shore of New Jersey.