BOEM To Auction Offshore Leases With 1.3 GW Of Wind Potential On May 11

April 1, 2022

by Peter Maloney
April 1, 2022

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed its environmental review and scheduled an auction for May 11 for two wind energy lease areas off the coast of the Carolinas.

The lease areas cover 110,091 acres in the Carolina Long Bay area that, if developed, could result in at least 1.3 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy, the Department of the Interior said in an announcement.

Developers will be able to bid one or both of the lease areas within the Wilmington East Wind Energy Area (WEA), as described in BOEM’s Final Sale Notice (FSN), which is available in the Federal Register reading room. The two lease areas include similar acreage, distance to shore, and wind resource potential, BOEM said.

Among the stipulations in the Final Sale Notice, BOEM is offering a 20 percent credit to bidders if they commit to invest in programs that would advance U.S. offshore wind energy workforce training or supply chain development.

The leases will also require lessees to identify Tribal Nations, underserved communities, agencies, ocean users and other interested stakeholders, and report on their communication and engagement activities with those parties.

Through a public comment process for the upcoming lease auction that began in November 2021, BOEM reduced the acreage available for leasing by 14 percent from the originally proposed lease areas in order to avoid conflicts with ocean users and minimize environmental impacts. BOEM said it would continue to engage with its partners and stakeholders as the process unfolds.

In October 2021, the administration of President Joe Biden announced a new leasing path forward that identified up to seven potential lease sales by 2025, including the upcoming Carolina Long Bay lease sale and last month’s New York Bight lease sale. 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, BOEM said.

In February, an auction of six lease areas totaling over 488,000 acres in the New York Bight for potential wind energy development drew winning bids from six companies totaling about $4.37 billion, making it the highest-grossing competitive offshore energy lease sale in history, including oil and gas lease sales.

The announcement of the Wilmington East Wind Energy Area auction marks “significant progress in achieving this Administration’s goal for deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, while creating jobs and strengthening a sustainable domestic supply chain,” Amanda Lefton, director of BOEM, said in a statement.