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WFAE reporter David Boraks explores how the way we live influences climate change and its impact across the Carolinas. You also can read additional national and international climate news.

Auction winners sign NC offshore wind leases just ahead of ban

 Wind turbines off Virginia Beach are owned by Dominion Energy.
David Boraks
A demonstration project with two wind turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach is owned by Dominion Energy. Two companies have signed leases to build wind farms off the coast of Wilmington.

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.

 Map shows the location of two offshore wind lease areas being auctioned this week.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Map shows the location of two future offshore wind lease areas near Wilmington, NC.

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.

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David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.