Kitty Hawk NC offshore wind leasing

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The U.S. Department of the Interior has proposed leasing federal ocean space offshore North Carolina for commercial offshore wind development.  On August 12, 2016, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced a proposed lease sale for the 122,405-acre Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area.  The proposal could lead to leasing of sites offshore North Carolina for one or more marine renewable energy projects.

The path to federal leasing of commercial wind development sites offshore North Carolina began in 2012, when the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management published a Call for Information and Nominations (or “Call”) in the Federal Register, to evaluate industry interest in commercial wind leases in three areas offshore North Carolina and to request comments regarding site conditions, resources and other uses within the Call areas.

In 2014, BOEM announced its identification of three Wind Energy Areas offshore North Carolina, including the Kitty Hawk, Wilmington West, and Wilmington East Wind Energy Areas.

In 2015, BOEM published an Environmental Assessment of potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts associated with issuing commercial wind leases and approving site assessment activities on the lease areas, followed by a revised Environmental Assessment and a "Finding of No Significant Impact."  This so-called FONSI concluded that reasonably foreseeable environmental effects associated with the commercial wind lease issuance and related activities would not significantly impact the environment.

Most recently, BOEM published a Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) and Request for Interest (RFI) for Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf Offshore North Carolina in the Federal Register on August 16, 2016.  The notice applies to the Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area. BOEM has rolled the Wilmington East and Wilmington West areas into its planning and leasing process for Call Areas offshore South Carolina, given their proximity and shared attributes.

If a developer is interested in bidding on the Kitty Hawk site lease rights, it must first submit a qualification package to BOEM.  If BOEM finds the developer to be legally, technically and financially qualified by the time the Final Sale Notice is published, the developer is eligible to participate in the lease sale.  Eligible bidders must notify BOEM within the 60-day comment period established by the notice.

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