Auction winners announced for Carolina Long Bay lease areas

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 12/05/2022 BOEM

BOEM has concluded a wind energy auction covering two lease areas offshore the Carolinas, United States after 18 rounds of bids. The lease areas cover 110,091 acres in the Carolina Long Bay area that could result in at least 1.3 GW of offshore wind energy, expected to power nearly 500,000 homes.

The Carolina Long Bay offshore wind energy auction saw two lease areas within the Wilmington East Wind Energy Area (WEA) awarded to developers. The two lease areas,
OCS-A 0545  and OCS-A 0546, include similar acreage, distance to shore, and wind resource potential.

Lease
OCS-A 0545 was awarded to TotalEnergies Renewables USA, LLC, a subsidiary of French oil and gas company TotalEnergies, with a winning bid of $160 million.

North Carolina headquartered power and natural gas firm Duke Energy Renewables Wind, LLC, a nonregulated subsidiary of Duke Energy, was named a winner of the other lease area,
OCS-A 0546 with a wining bid of $155 million. Subject to regulatory approval, the company could begin site assessment and characterization activities in the lease area in 2023, which would keep the company on target for a potential in-service project in the 2030-2032 time frame.

Over the next year, Duke Energy Renewables Wind, LLC will develop a Site Assessment Plan for BOEM’s approval, which outlines a detailed proposal for studying the project area to better understand the wind energy resource and potential impacts.

“Securing this lease creates optionality for future offshore wind if the North Carolina Utilities Commission determines it’s part of the least cost path to achieve 70% carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero by 2050,”
said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “As we continue to assess the area and project potential, we look forward to listening and learning from diverse stakeholders and community members in the region to ensure we are being thoughtful about all aspects of the potential project.”

Several lease stipulations were included by BOEM to promote the development of the US supply chain. Among the stipulations, BOEM will offer a 20 percent credit to bidders if they commit to invest in programmes that will advance US offshore wind energy workforce training or supply chain development. According to BOEM, this credit will now result in $42 million for these programmes and initiatives.

“This auction puts real dollars on the table to support economic growth from offshore wind energy development – including the jobs that come with it,”
said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “The new bidding credit in the Carolina Long Bay auction will result in tangible investments for workforce training and businesses in the United States, to ultimately create jobs in the U.S. across the industries needed to support achieving our offshore wind goals.”

Before the leases are finalised, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission will conduct an anti-competitiveness review of the auction, and the provisional winners will be required to pay any balance on the winning bids and provide financial assurance to BOEM.

Last year, the US government announced a new leasing path forward which identified up to seven potential lease sales by 2025, including the now concluded Carolina Long Bay lease sale and the New York Bight lease sale which concluded earlier this year. Lease sales offshore California and Oregon, as well as in the Central Atlantic, Gulf of Maine, and the Gulf of Mexico are expected to follow.