Biden-Harris Administration Announces Winners of Carolina Long Bay Offshore Wind Energy Auction
Department of the Interior
The Department of the Interior today announced results from its wind energy auction in the Carolina Long Bay area, the second major offshore wind lease sale this year and a significant milestone towards achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.
“The Biden-Harris administration is moving forward at the pace and scale required to help achieve the President’s goals to make offshore wind energy a reality for the United States,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Together with an all-of-government approach, we can combat the effects of climate change while creating good-paying union jobs that can benefit underserved communities. Today’s lease sale is further proof that there is strong industry interest and that America’s clean energy transition is here.”
President Biden catalyzed the offshore wind energy industry by announcing the first-ever national offshore wind energy goal, creating a clear vision for the future of this innovative industry. This goal is reinforced by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will make historic investments to build a better America with clean energy, resilient infrastructure, and strong domestic manufacturing and supply chains.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) lease sale offered two lease areas covering 110,091 acres in the Carolina Long Bay area offshore North Carolina and South Carolina. If fully developed, the leases could result in about 1.3 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, enough to power about 500,000 homes. Today’s sale drew competitive winning bids from two companies totaling $315 million.
The Carolina Long Bay offshore wind auction included a new 20 percent credit for bidders that committed to a monetary contribution to programs or initiatives that support workforce training programs for the offshore wind industry, development of a U.S. domestic supply chain for the offshore wind energy industry, or both. This credit will result in $42 million for these critical programs or 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.”
A better trained and larger domestic offshore wind workforce will provide more efficient operations with an increase of fully trained personnel. Similarly, a more robust domestic supply chain will reduce the upfront capital or certification cost for manufacturing offshore wind components, including the building of facilities, the purchasing of capital equipment, and the certifying of existing manufacturing facilities. Additional details on requirements and restrictions related to the bidding credit are located on BOEM's website.
To advance the Interior Department’s environmental justice goals, lessees are also required to identify Tribal Nations, underserved communities, agencies, ocean users and other interested stakeholders and to report on their communication and engagement activities with these parties. These stipulations are intended to promote offshore wind energy development in a way that coexists with other ocean uses, addresses potential impacts and benefits, and protects the ocean environment, while also facilitating our nation’s energy future for generations to come.
The Carolina Long Bay offshore wind energy auction allowed companies to bid on one or both of the lease areas within the Wilmington East Wind Energy Area, as described in the Final Sale Notice (FSN). The two lease areas include similar acreage, distance to shore, and wind resource potential.
Before the leases are finalized, 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.
More information about today’s sale, including a map of the lease areas, can be found on BOEM’s website.