Interior Dept auctions 122,000 acres offshore North Carolina for wind energyStaff Writer | March 20, 2017
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank announced the completion of the nation’s seventh competitive lease sale for renewable wind energy in federal waters.
Green energy BOEM had held six competitive lease sales
Also participating in the lease sale were Wind Future, Statoil Wind US, and wpd offshore Alpha.
BOEM had held six competitive lease sales, which generated $58 million in high bids for more than one million acres in federal waters, including a lease sale for 79,000 acres offshore New York that generated a winning bid of $42.5 million.
BOEM also recently marked the operational launch of the nation’s first commercial offshore wind farm – the five-turbine, 30 megawatt Block Island Wind Facility developed by Deepwater Wind at a cost of $290 million.
BOEM has been working with the North Carolina Renewable Energy Task Force since 2010 to identify an area of sufficient size for offshore wind development, while avoiding ecologically sensitive areas and multiple use conflicts.
The North Carolina lease area, designated OCS-A 0508, begins about 24 nautical miles from shore and extends 25.7 nautical miles in a general southeast direction.
Its seaward extent ranges from 13.5 nautical miles in the north to .6 of a nautical mile in the south. A map of the lease area can be found here.
Using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s estimates of 3 megawatts (MW) per square kilometer, the lease area has a potential generating capacity of 1,486 MW, enough energy to power more than 500,000 homes.
The actual size of the wind energy project will be determined by the developer.
Before the lease is executed, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission will conduct a review of the auction, and the provisional winner will be required to pay the winning bid and provide financial assurance to BOEM.
The lease will have a preliminary term of one year, during which the lessee may submit a Site Assessment Plan (SAP) to BOEM for approval.
The SAP will describe the facilities (e.g., meteorological towers or buoys) a lessee plans to install or deploy for the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions of its commercial lease area.
Following approval of a SAP, the lessee will then have four and a half years to submit a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) to BOEM for approval.
This plan will provide a detailed proposal for the construction and operation of a wind energy project within the lease area. ■