Commercial Wind Leasing Offshore North Carolina

Background

The Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act requires BOEM to award renewable energy leases competitively, unless BOEM determines there is no competitive interest.  So, on Dec. 13, 2012, BOEM published a Call for Information and Nominations (or “Call”) in the Federal Register (under Docket ID: BOEM-2012-0088) for a 45-day public comments period to gauge the offshore wind industry's interest in acquiring commercial wind leases in three areas offshore North Carolina and to request comments regarding site conditions, resources and other uses within the Call areas. On Feb. 5, 2013, BOEM reopened the comment period for the Call to allow for additional public input.  The comment period for the North Carolina Call for Information and Nominations (DOCKET ID: BOEM-2012-0088) closed on March 7, 2013. Materials related to the Call are below.

Environmental Review

In addition to the Call, BOEM published in the Federal Register a “Notice of Intent (NOI) to Prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA)” on Dec. 13, 2012 (under Docket ID: BOEM-2012-0090). BOEM extended the public comment period until Mar. 7, 2013. The EA will consider potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts associated with issuing commercial wind leases and approving site assessment activities on the lease areas.

On January 23, 2015, BOEM published the EA for public review and comment. BOEM carefully considered all comments received and, on September 17, 2015, made available a revised EA for the WEAs offshore North Carolina. As a result of the analysis in the revised EA, BOEM issued a "Finding of No Significant Impact" (FONSI), which concluded that reasonably foreseeable environmental effects associated with the commercial wind lease issuance and related activities would not significantly impact the environment. For more information, click on the links below:

Simulations of Potential Visual Impacts

BOEM partnered with the National Park Service to create state of the art visual simulations of a wind energy facility offshore North Carolina. BOEM held Visual Simulation Open Houses in North Carolina to provide an opportunity to review the results of the Offshore Wind Visualization Study, which focused on locations within the Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores. The photo simulations, videos, and additional information on the study can be found through this link: www.boem.gov/Offshore-North-Carolina-Visualization-Study/.

Wind Energy Area Identification

On Aug. 11, 2014, BOEM announced that it has identified three WEAs offshore North Carolina:

  • The Kitty Hawk WEA begins about 24 nm from shore and extends approximately 25.7 nm in a general southeast direction. Its seaward extent ranges from 13.5 nm in the north to .6 nm in the south. It contains approximately 21.5 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) blocks (122,405 acres).
  • The Wilmington West WEA begins about 10 nm from shore and extends approximately 12.3 nm in an east-west direction at its widest point. It contains just over 9 OCS blocks (approximately 51,595 acres).
  • The Wilmington East WEA begins about 15 nm from Bald Head Island at its closest point and extends approximately 18 nm in the southeast direction at its widest point. It contains approximately 25 OCS blocks (133,590 acres).

For additional information about the WEAs offshore North Carolina, click on the link below.

Proposed Sale Notice and Request for Interest

On August 12, 2016, BOEM announced the release of the Atlantic Wind Lease Sale 7 Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) and Request for Interest (RFI) for 122,405 acres offshore North Carolina. The PSN and RFI published in the Federal Register on August 16, 2016.
The PSN requested that any prospective bidders already qualified for commercial wind energy development offshore North Carolina affirm their continued interest and requested public comments on BOEM’s proposal to auction one lease offshore North Carolina for commercial wind energy development. Information related to the PSN and RFI is located below.

Final Sale Notice

On January 17, 2017, BOEM announced the publication of the Final Sale Notice (FSN) for a lease sale offshore North Carolina. The lease area is located 24 nautical miles (nm) from shore and extends 25.7 nm in a general southeast direction. Its seaward extent ranges from 13.5 nm in the north to 0.6 nm in the south. It contains approximately 21.5 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) blocks (122,405 acres).

Commercial Leases

On March 16, 2017, BOEM held a competitive lease sale (i.e. auction) for the Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area offshore North Carolina. The auction lasted 17 rounds. Avangrid Renewables, LLC which bid $9,066,650 was the winner of lease OCS-A 0508 ( 122,405 acres). The lease was signed by BOEM on October 10, 2017 and went into effect on November 1, 2017. The executed lease is available below

A summary of the bidding results can be found through this link: https://www.boem.gov/ATLW-7-NC/.