Washington, D.C. – Leasing rights to a 191-square-mile offshore wind energy area far from the shores of North Carolina were auctioned for more than $9 million on Thursday. U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank announced Avangrid Renewables, LLC as the provisional winner with a bid of $9,066,650.

“Today’s federal lease sale demonstrates clear investor confidence in America’s offshore wind market, which is finally taking off thanks to years of planning and leadership by industry, state and federal leaders, and key stakeholders along the coast. Offshore wind power is a booming global industry that is ready to create tens of thousands of jobs here in America through the responsible development of our massive offshore wind resources,” Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “The National Wildlife Federation applauds Secretary Zinke and the DOI and BOEM teams for a successful auction and congratulates Avangrid on its win. We look forward to working with all parties to ensure strong wildlife protections guide the development of this and all wind projects off our shores.”

The strong interest in the auction, with four bidders submitting multi-million-dollar bids, is only the latest strong sign of interest in wildlife-friendly Atlantic offshore wind. Rhode Island has already built America’s first offshore wind farm, and energy legislation in Massachusetts and moves by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York have sent loud and clear signals that they’re committed to embracing clean, wildlife-friendly offshore wind power. A recent New York auction wound up setting records and BOEM recently announced plans for more auctions far off the Massachusetts coast.

“North Carolina is moving a step closer to reaping the tremendous environmental and economic benefits of wildlife-friendly offshore wind power,” said Tim Gestwicki, CEO of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, NWF’s state affiliate. “We are thrilled to see this progress, following years of stakeholder engagement, toward harnessing the abundant clean energy potential far off our shores.”

Click here for more offshore wind news!

Amber Hewett • March 17, 2017