Biden-Harris Administration Announces Wilmington East Wind Energy Area Lease Sale
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 25, 2022
Media Contact: Karly Lohan, email@example.com
Raleigh, N.C. - On Friday, March 25th, the Department of the Interior announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has completed its environmental review of the Carolina Long Bay area and will hold a wind energy auction for two lease areas within the Wilmington East Wind Energy Area offshore North Carolina on May, 11 2022. The Wilmington East Wind Energy Area (WEA) covers 110,091 acres of outer continental shelf lease blocks approximately 17.9 nm away from Bald Head Island, NC. The two lease areas could support at least 1.3 gigawatts of offshore wind, enough wind energy to power approximately 500,000 homes.
The announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of 30 GW of offshore wind development by 2030. Offshore wind is a key component of President Biden’s agenda to transition to a clean energy economy that uses offshore wind projects to expand the domestic manufacturing supply chain, create good-paying clean energy jobs, strengthen U.S. energy independence, and lower the cost of energy.
A recent analysis published by the Southeastern Wind Coalition (SEWC) with support from Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) shows that constructing 2.8-gigawatts of offshore wind off North Carolina’s coast by 2030 will result in a net economic benefit of up to $4.6 billion for the state’s economy. Two lease areas within the Wilmington East WEA means that the State and its utilities, residents, and ratepayers will see additional economic benefits.
“SEWC applauds the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) decision to divide the Wilmington East Wind Energy Area into two leases,” said SEWC President Katharine Kollins. “Having two lease areas means more economic benefit for the state through additional competition, development flexibility, and multiple players in the space. Additional lease provisions will drive incentive for localized supply chain and workforce development, allowing North Carolina the ability to take advantage of the $100B at our doorstep.”
North Carolina is well positioned to become a leader in the offshore wind industry due to its high wind speeds and shallow waters, strong manufacturing supply chain, and two deepwater ports. More than 55 companies in the land-based wind supply chain call North Carolina home. The Wilmington East Wind Energy Area lease auction announcement presents an opportunity for these companies to expand their operations, creating jobs and contributing to the local and state economy.
“I have always supported an all-of-the-above energy strategy, and today’s announcement will ensure North Carolina becomes the natural leader in offshore wind energy it is poised to be,” said NC Rep. David Rouzer. “It will also help provide an economic shot in the arm for many communities that desperately need it. Done correctly, these offshore wind projects will be a win-win for everyone — out of sight from shore — benefiting tourism, enhancing the fisheries, while also creating good jobs and bringing new investment to Southeastern North Carolina.” Rep. Rouzer added, “I’m also pleased the viewshed concerns of constituents were addressed by reducing the WEA by 14%. This ensures any turbines will be even further from shore.”
“At a time when gas prices are soaring and our reliance on oil has been magnified, we must make real investments in renewable energy,” said NC Rep. Deborah Ross. “The Carolina Long Bay lease will move us toward a cleaner energy future, create jobs, and position North Carolina as a leader in offshore wind energy production.”
The Southeastern Wind Coalition is a 501(c)3 that works to advance the land-based and offshore wind industry in the Southeast. We focus on providing fact-based information on the economic and environmental opportunities of wind energy, and encourage solutions that result in net economic benefits to residents and ratepayers. For more information about the Southeastern Wind Coalition visit www.sewind.org.