United States

United States

North Carolina environmental assessments completed

US: The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has released environmental assessment reports of three proposed zones off the coast of North Carolina for the development of wind projects.

The final zones off the coast of North Carolina zones marked in yellow, blue and green
The final zones off the coast of North Carolina zones marked in yellow, blue and green

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The reports said there would be "no significant environmental or socioeconomic impacts" of the three zones located between 18.5 kilometers and 44 kilometers off the US's east coast.

BOEM director Abigail Ross Hopper said: "After considering public input and conducting a thorough environmental review, we believe that wind leasing and site characterisation activities can be done in a manner that will continue to allow for other uses, and be compatible with the environment."

BOEM will now hold a meeting to discuss the approach for a wind auction for the three leases and then publish a proposed sale notice.

The three zones cover a total 1,245 square kilometres. The first zone, called Kitty Hawk, is located off the coast in the north of the state. It covers an area 495 square kilometres.

The remaining two zones are located towards the south of the state, on the border with South Carolina. The Wilmington West zone, the closest area to shore, covers 209 square kilometres. And Wilmington East covers 541 square kilometres.

Last year, BOEM cut the size of the three areas to a quarter of the original proposals.

In April, major European offshore developer Dong Energy acquired the rights to a site off the coast of Massachusetts from RES Americas. RES Americas was awarded the development license by BOEM following an auction in January.

Dong predicts the 759 square kilometre area could support up to 1GW of capacity.

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