The Carolina Long Bay offshore wind lease auction in the US wrapped up on Wednesday afternoon with TotalEnergies and Duke Energy each winning a block.
The auction resulted in $315 million of winning bids and a $42 million investment into domestic supply chain development.
The lease auction was the second of the year as US offshore wind opportunities move south.
This auction was for areas off the coast of North Carolina and South Carolina, while the first auction of the year, in the New York Bight, took place off the coast of New York and New Jersey and attracted $4.37 billion.
TotalEnergies Renewables USA leased the OCS-A 0545 area of 54,937 acres for $160 million. TotalEnergies was also a winner in the New York Bight auction through its joint venture Attentive Energy, leasing an area for $795 million.
US power company Duke Energy leased the OCS-A 0546 area of 55,154 acres for $155 million, making its mark as one of the few US-based companies to find a share in the country’s offshore wind ambitions.
If these two areas are fully developed, the US Department of the Interior said they could reach 1.3 gigawatts of capacity, enough to power 500,000 homes.
This wind auction included a special 20% credit for bidders that committed to contributing financially to programmes to support domestic workforce or supply chain development for the offshore wind industry. These credits drew in $42 million to support such programmes.
“This auction puts real dollars on the table to support economic growth from offshore wind energy development — including the jobs that come with it,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy management director Amanda Lefton.
“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.”
The up to 2.5 GW Kitty Hawk offshore wind project, led by Iberdrola-owned Avangrid, is also in development off the coast of the Carolinas. Three offshore wind projects now have leases offshore the Carolinas.
"With three separate wind projects now in the area, and potentially more on the way, the Carolinas are positioned to be the next American offshore wind hub. Today's winning bids were each more than seventeen times larger than the winning bid from the Kitty Hawk offshore wind lease sale just five years ago,” National Ocean Industries Association president Erik Milito said.
“We're seeing the maturation of the market and an optimistic outlook for offshore wind in areas beyond our Northeastern states. A stronger supply chain, with new jobs and investments, will stretch through the Carolinas and communities throughout our nation.”