Duke, TotalEnergies emerge as winners in latest US offshore wind auction

Offshore wind turbines. Source: LICengineering (www.liceng.dk).

May 12 (Renewables Now) - The US Department of the Interior (DOI) on Wednesday named subsidiaries of US utility Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) and French energy major TotalEnergies SE (EPA:TTE) as the provisional winners in the auction for the Carolina Long Bay offshore wind lease area.

The lease sale held by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) lasted 18 rounds and resulted in competitive winning bids totalling about USD 315 million (EUR 298m).

TotalEnergies Renewables USA LLC emerged as the provisional winner for the 54,937-acre (22,232 ha) lease area OCS-A 0545 with a bid of USD 160 million, while Duke Energy Renewables Wind LLC was awarded the 55,154-acre OCS-A 0546 after bidding USD 155 million. The acreage is in the Carolina Long Bay area offshore North Carolina and South Carolina.

According to Duke Energy, its lease, located east of Wilmington, could support up to 1.6 GW of potential offshore wind energy by 2032. This corresponds to enough power to supply nearly 375,000 homes.

"Securing this lease creates optionality for future offshore wind if the North Carolina Utilities Commission determines it's part of the least cost path to achieve 70% carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero by 2050," said Stephen De May, Duke Energy's North Carolina president.

The US company said it will file its proposed carbon plan with the North Carolina Utilities Commission on May 16. It will include multiple scenarios for consideration.

If Duke Energy secures the needed regulatory clearance, it could start site assessment and characterisation activities in the area next year. Current hopes are that it will have an in-service project in the 2030-2032 time frame.

BOEM noted that this latest offshore wind auction includes a new 20% credit for bidders that committed to a monetary contribution to programmes or initiatives that support workforce training programmes for the industry and the development of a domestic supply chain. This credit will provide USD 42 million for these initiatives.

“For the first time, the federal government used an auction system designed to spark investment directly into US manufacturers, small businesses, shipbuilders and new workforce training, accelerating development of the already-emerging domestic supply chain. With global demand for offshore wind soaring, the U.S. must seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity and develop a robust domestic supply chain to secure our energy future,” commented Liz Burdock, CEO and founder of the Business Network for Offshore Wind.

In February, the interior department held a similar auction for acreage in the New York Bight, which lasted three days and drew competitive winning bids from six companies totalling USD 4.37 billion.

(USD 1.0 = EUR 0.947)

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