Auction winners sign NC offshore wind leases just ahead of ban
The two companies that won a federal auction to build wind farms off North Carolina have finalized leases.
Duke Energy Renewables Wind of Charlotte and TotalEnergies Renewables, a division of a French company, signed leases June 22, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
That was just in time to beat a 10-year federal moratorium on new wind farms that began Friday, July 1. The moratorium was ordered by the administration of former President Donald Trump.
The leases would run for 33 years, after initial six-year terms for planning and site assessment.
In May, Duke Energy bid $155 million for one of two leases. TotalEnergies Renewables won the other, with a $160 million bid. The side-by-side leases are 55,000 acres each, about 17 nautical miles south of Bald Head Island.
Officials say it could be a decade before any turbines begin operating.
Democratic U.S. Representative Deborah Ross has introduced legislation that would reverse the Trump-ordered moratorium. In a statement, she said she's disappointed that the moratorium has taken effect.
"I will continue to pursue every possible avenue to pass legislation that will overturn this moratorium and allow our state to develop this resource, capture its economic and environmental benefits, and power millions of homes," Ross said.
See the leases and other information on the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management website, https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/carolina-long-bay.