United States

United States

US to launch gigawatt-scale offshore wind lease auction for Carolinas

Lease sale off North and South Carolina follows record-breaking New York Bight tender in February

The US's first offshore wind farm, Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island (pic credit: Deepwater Wind)
The US's first offshore wind farm, Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island (pic credit: Deepwater Wind)

The US plans an auction in May to lease two areas off the Carolinas that could support at least 1.3GW of offshore wind capacity.

The Carolinas auction follows the record-breaking New York Bight offshore wind lease auction, in which developers paid $4.37 billion for six areas off the coast of New York and New Jersey.

North and South Carolina offshore developers will compete for two areas with a similar acreage, distance to shore, and wind resource potential - according to auction regulator, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

The sites have a combined area of 445km2.

The auction will begin on 11 May, with bids due to start at around $2.75 million for each of the lease areas. Developers may compete for one or both sites.

BOEM has named 16 bidders eligible to compete in the tender, including:  Avangrid Renewables. BP, Invenergy, Duke Energy, EDF Renewable, Jera, Masdar, Ørsted, Ocean Winds, RWE, Shell and Total Energies.

Several lease stipulations designed to help develop a robust domestic US supply chain for offshore wind will be included in the Carolinas offshore wind auction, BOEM said. 

Such stipulations include incentives for developers if they commit to invest in programs that will advance the US offshore wind workforce training, or supply chain development.

Developers must also engage with tribal nations, underserved communities, ocean users and other interested stakeholders, BOEM added.

BOEM intends to carry out lease sales for California and Oregon, the central Atlantic region, the Gulf of Maine and the Gulf of Mexico before 2025.

The US aims to have 30GW of offshore wind power capacity by 2030. Since entering office, the Biden administration has announced key permitting approvals for several offshore wind farms and begun environmental surveys for new offshore sites.

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