US offshore wind bids start for Carolinas

Bidding for federal wind energy leases for two areas off the coast of North Carolina and South Carolina started on Wednesday (11 May).

The sale, which is the second such offering this year, is part of the Biden administration’s renewables push. It follows a record February wind auction off the coast of New York and New Jersey that attracted some $4.37 billion in bids.

The online auction includes two leases covering 110,091 acres in the Carolina Long Bay area. The leases could generate 1.5 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, enough to power half a million homes, according to the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which oversees energy development in federal waters.

The sale has 16 registered bidders, including subsidiaries of BP, Orsted and Shell. Unlike the recent auction in the New York Bight, a single bidder may win both Carolina Long Bay lease areas, BOEM said.

President Joe Biden has claimed the US offshore wind industry will create well-paying jobs while creating the carbon-free electricity needed to combat climate change. His administration aims to permit 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030.

The auction terms allow a bidder to receive a 20% credit if it commits to the development of a domestic offshore wind supply chain or workforce training.

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