Posted Mar. 17, 2017 at 7:24 a.m.

Feds award first lease for NC offshore windfarm

Published: 2017-03-17 07:24:58
Updated: 2017-03-17 07:24:58

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Federal officials have leased more than 122,000 acres off the North Carolina coast designated for renewable wind energy to an energy and utility company based in Oregon.

That firm, Avangrid Renewables, also operates the first lage wind farm in eastern North Carolina. That site began delivering energy to Amazon in December.

The offshore deal is the first such lease for North Carolina.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management acting director Walter Cruickshank announced the deal Thursday. Avangrid, which operates in 25 states, bid slightly more than $9 million for the area off Kitty Hawk.

The bureau has worked with the North Carolina Renewable Energy Task Force since 2010 to identify an area of sufficient size for offshore wind development while avoiding ecologically sensitive areas and multiple use conflicts.

The North Carolina lease area begins about 24 nautical miles from shore and extends 25.7 nautical miles to the southeast.

"We are very excited about this opportunity for Avangrid Renewables to play a leading role in the growing U.S. offshore wind industry, a reliable source of clean energy that has significant job-creation potential in North Carolina and the United States," Avangrid CEO James Torgerson said in a statement.

"Between our leading position in the United States, including North Carolina, where we operate a wind farm near Elizabeth City, along with the expertise and experience of our international affiliate, Iberdrola Group, in developing offshore wind in Europe, we felt we were well positioned to secure this bid."

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