Biden Administration Announces First Wind Power Lease Off Coast of Carolinas

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

On Friday, the Biden administration announced that it will hold a wind power auction this May for two spots off the coast of the Carolinas. The highest bidders will get to lease the areas and help the administration with its goal to help expand the clean energy industry.

At a Glance

  • The BOEM will auction off two parcels of wind power land in the Carolinas this spring.
  • The move will help the Biden administration reach its goal of supplying 30 gigawatts of clean energy to US homes.
  • BOEM will offer a 20% credit to leasees willing to invest in industry training and development.

The Carolinas Will be Home to Two New Offshore Wind Power Farms

The available space covers 110,091 acres of the Carolina Long Bay. And The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will split the area into two separate parcels. BOEM has set the auction date for May 11th.

The decision stems from the government’s goal of adding turbines to federal waters along every U.S. coastline by 2030. Once completed, the wind power farms should generate an estimated 30 gigawatts of power. The Carolina coastline will contribute 1.3 gigawatts, which is enough to power half a million homes.

“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to supporting a robust clean energy economy,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. “And the upcoming Carolina Long Bay offshore wind energy auction provides yet another excellent opportunity to strengthen the clean energy industry while creating good-paying union jobs.”

BOEM Will Offer Cutbacks to Companies Willing to Invest in the Future of Wind Power

The government is also committing itself to invest in ways to advance workforce training and supply chain development. And if bidders are willing to do the same, BOEM will offer a 20% credit.

According to the lease terms, the companies that take over the land will also have to identify surrounding underserved communities and tribal nations. Furthermore, they will need to take other agencies and ocean users into consideration.

The United States only has two offshore wind facilities to date. One is off the coast of Rhode Island, and the other is in the waters of Virginia. Though two large-scale projects are currently in the works. The BOEM just actioned off one such project in New York for $4.37 billion.

America’s offshore wind energy industry could give $109 billion in revenue to businesses over the next ten years. And BOEM will work with all companies joining the supply chain to ensure that the new efforts don’t put the environment in jeopardy.

“BOEM is focused on ensuring that any development offshore North Carolina is done responsibly, in a way that avoids or minimizes potential impacts to the ocean and ocean users in the region,” Director Amanda Lefton said.