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North and South Carolina offshore areas come up for wind energy auction

The Carolina Long Bay lease sale on May 11 could bring thousands of jobs, billions of dollars of income to the area; last offshore auction before July 1 moratorium

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) announced the date for a wind energy auction for two lease areas off the coast of North and South Carolina.

The area known as Carolina Long Bay -- approximately 15 nautical miles south of Bald Head Island, North Carolina, and 35 miles east-south-east of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina -- will hit the auction block on May 11.

NOIA President Erik Milito estimates the Carolinas Lease Sale "could support 37,200 jobs, $3 billion in annual wages, $233 million in state tax creation and $44.9 billion in capital investment during the development and construction phase of the projects." 

The lease sale comes after the US Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) completed an environmental review and may be the last auction of offshore property for energy development before the ten-year moratorium of lease sales kicks in on July 1, 2022. 

Credit: BOEM

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Carolina Long Bay consists of sites OCS-A 0545, which contains 54,937 total acres, and the 55,154-acre OCS-A 0546. The total Carolina Long Bay consists of 110,091 acres total. 

BOEM notes there are 16 energy companies that are qualified to hold a commercial wind lease in the area -- including BP US Offshore Wind Energy, Carolina Offshore Wind, Duke Energy Renewables, an Shell New Energies US.

Companies winning bids at auction will still have to have plans submitted for environmental, technical, and public reviews before authorization of development.

BOEM's report and notice of final sale can be read here:

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