Biden administration announces first wind power lease off Carolinas
The Biden administration on Friday morning announced the first offshore wind energy lease sale off the coast of the Carolinas, part of a broader goal of installing 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will auction off the two lease areas, which cover 110,091 acres in the Carolina Long Bay, on May 11. The Interior Department projects the area could provide 1.3 gigawatts of offshore energy after development.
“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,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. “This is an historic time for domestic offshore wind energy development. We will continue using every tool in our toolbox to tackle the climate crisis, reduce our emissions to reach the President’s bold goals, and advance environmental justice.”
The 30 gigawatt goal is part of a broader Biden administration goal of halving U.S. carbon emissions by 2030. In autumn of 2020, the administration released a roadmap for offshore wind power that envisions installations across the east and west coasts of the U.S. as well as the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Maine.
The announcement comes as environmentalist groups have aggressively lobbied the administration to accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources as gas prices soar amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The administration has taken relief measures such as releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and appealing to both domestic oil companies and nations like Saudi Arabia to increase production. However, advocates have argued the hike demonstrates the volatility of fossil fuels in general, saying the instability shows the need to transition to renewable energy sources that are not subject to those same swings.