Environment

With a $9 million bid, Avangrid wins offshore wind farm lease near Kitty Hawk

A European offshore wind farm (Photo:Creative Commons via Andreas Klinke Johannsen on Flickr)

This is what $9 million will buy: The historic Powerhouse Square on West Street in Raleigh. More than 11,000 iPhones. Seven heart transplants. Three weekend trips to Mar-a- Lago for President Trump. And 122,405 acres of ocean and its floor off the North Carolina coast.

The Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management today held a lease sale for the acreage, which will be used for a wind farm 27.5 miles east of Kitty Hawk. The online bidding began Thursday morning at $244,000. By 4 p.m., after 17 rounds, four companies had dwindled to one winner: Avangrid, with a bid of $9,066,650. The federal government will still own the acreage, but Avangrid will have the exclusive rights to develop wind energy there.

Avangrid, a US subsidiary of the Spanish company Iberdrola, also operates the onshore Amazon Wind Farm near Elizabeth City.

If fully developed, the lease area potentially could generate 1,486 megawatts, enough to power a half-million homes.

However, construction and permitting could take more than 20 years. Before it’s built, the project must go through a site assessment plan, a construction and operations plan, and an environmental review.

Depending on their size and location, offshore wind farms can cost hundreds of millions of dollars. The Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island has five turbines; it cost $450 million for permitting and construction.

 

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