Energy giant TotalEnergies Renewables USA and offshore wind newcomer Duke Energy Renewables Wind have won the lease auction off the Carolinas on the US south-east coast. The winning bids totalled $315 million. The tracts have a capacity of 1.3GW.
The projects will be accompanied by a $42 million investment in domestic supply chain and workforce training, according to the terms of the auction, held by the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). It was the first time BOEM had used an auction credit system in one of its lease tenders to encourage investments in the supply chain.
TotalEnergies’s winning bid was $160 million for the 222km2 Lease Area OCS-A 0545. Duke Energy’s winning bid for the 223km2 Lease Area OCS-A 0546 was $155 million.
The 11 May auction, only the second since 2018, lasted for 18 rounds.
The two lease areas cover 445km2 in the Carolina Long Bay area off the states of North Carolina and South Carolina.
TotalEnergies is part of the French oil and gas company and a co-owner of a winner in the record-breaking New York Bight auction in February, which raised an eye-popping $4.37 billion.
Duke Energy, an electric company based in North Carolina, is a newcomer to the offshore wind sector.
BOEM Director Amanda Lefton said: “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 US across the industries needed to support achieving our offshore wind goals.”
President Joe Biden’s administration has a goal of 30 GW of US offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.
The auction had 16 registered bidders including BP, Ørsted, Shell New Energies, Avangrid, Invenergy, UAE-based Masdar and JERA of Japan
The New York Bight auction, off New York and New Jersey, had been criticised for basing winners on price alone. David Hardy, chief executive of Ørsted Offshore North America – which dropped out of the auction as prices soared—afterwards told the Financial Times that such winning bids could lead to hiked electricity prices and stall the rise of clean energy.
The Carolinas do not have such aggressive offshore goals as New York and New Jersey, nor do they have such large cities vying to buy clean energy.