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North Carolina Excluded From Offshore Wind Leases Amid Military Objections

Posted on August 23, 2023

The Biden Administration has not included areas offshore North Carolina in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s plans to lease areas for offshore wind projects off the East Coast due to objections raised by the US. Department of Defense, the Carolina Journal reports.

The military has long been opposed to offshore wind projects in North Carolina due to concerns that they could restrict low-level military training flights.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) had initially considered leasing areas offshore North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware, covering approximately 1.7 million acres.

Early this month, BOEM said it intends to prepare an environmental assessment (EA) to consider the potential environmental impacts associated with possible wind energy-related leasing offshore Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. North Carolina was excluded from consideration.

The three final Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) offshore Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia cover approximately 356,550 acres.

Commenting on BOEM’s decision to exclude areas of the coast of North Carolina from the areas of potential offshore wind lease, North Carolina’s Democratic Governor Roy Cooper said this month,

“While this decision is extremely disappointing, it will not slow North Carolina’s momentum in reaching our offshore wind energy goals as we transition to a clean energy economy.”

“North Carolina remains committed to becoming the nation’s leader in offshore wind energy and stands ready to work with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to identify alternative solutions to solve this problem.”

Last year, units of TotalEnergies and Duke Energy won a wind energy auction in the Carolina Long Bay area in a lease sale that offered two lease areas covering 110,091 acres in the Carolina Long Bay area offshore North Carolina and South Carolina. If fully developed, the leases?could result in about? 1.3 GW?of offshore wind energy, enough to power about 500,000?homes.

The Biden Administration targets to build 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030. The Administration said in February this year that offshore wind rights in the Gulf of Mexico—the stronghold of the U.S. oil and gas production and export facilities – would contribute to the U.S goals of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030, as well as 15 GW specifically of floating offshore wind by 2035.


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