Statement: Offshore wind lease sale provides big boost for renewable energy in the Carolinas

Announcement will open up more than 110,000 acres off the coast of the Carolinas to offshore wind
For Immediate Release

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced Friday that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold a wind energy auction on May 11 for more than 110,000 acres in the Carolina Long Bay area off the coast of North and South Carolina. This move comes only one month after the Department of Interior concluded a record-breaking offshore wind lease auction for 488,000 acres in the New York Bight.

The auction will allow offshore wind developers to bid on two lease areas. Leases offered in this sale could result in 1.3 gigawatts or more of offshore wind energy for electricity customers in the Carolinas and beyond – enough to power nearly 500,000 American homes. 

In response, Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center Advocate Krista Early issued the following statement:

“Today’s announcement is an exciting step forward. The Carolinas have an incredible renewable resource blowing off our shores, and it’s high time we take advantage of it. The Old North State alone has enough offshore wind technical potential to meet our electricity needs more than four times over. Tapping into even just a small fraction of that immense natural resource will allow us to stand out amongst our peers as a true leader in clean and renewable energy. 

“Our state stands to benefit tremendously from the growth of clean and renewable energy right here in our front yard. Clean and renewable offshore wind energy will help ensure a cleaner, healthier future for North and South Carolinians, with less harmful pollution from dirty fossil fuels. Extreme weather events are becoming more common and our coastline is increasingly vulnerable. This offshore wind will help slow global warming and protect our communities in the long run. Now is absolutely the time to lock in these benefits, and I look forward to cheering on Carolina offshore wind as this lease sale moves forward.”   

Environment America Research & Policy Center’s 100% Renewable Campaign Director Emma Searson released the following statement:

“The coastlines of this country are bursting at the seams with clean, renewable offshore wind potential just waiting to be captured and used to power our lives without pollution. With each new offshore wind lease or project, we move one step closer to realizing the benefits of this remarkable resource and accomplishing the Biden administration’s national goal of reaching 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030. 

“With offshore wind alone, the Atlantic region could produce almost four times as much electricity as the region used in 2019. That’s more than enough to transform how we produce energy. Offshore wind has a substantial role to play in our transition to a future society that runs entirely on clean and renewable energy. Today’s announcement is an exciting step towards that cleaner, brighter future.”