Avangrid Renewables LLC got the green light from federal regulators to move forward with development of the Kitty Hawk offshore wind project in North Carolina waters.
The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which oversees offshore wind leases in federal waters, on Oct. 10 signed Avangrid's $9 million lease to develop an offshore wind farm on 122,405 acres off the North Carolina coast, spokesman Stephen Boutwell said. The lease will go into effect Nov. 1, when Avangrid can submit its development plans to the agency for approval before it can start construction.
Avangrid Renewables President and CEO Laura Beane said the signed lease is not only a milestone for the company but also marks an important step for growing the U.S. offshore wind industry.
"Even at this very early stage, we have a lot of work to do as we seek to better comprehend a number of variables that will inform our understanding of the wind farm development," Beane said in a statement. "That process will take time, is highly technical, and will involve many stakeholders, but we are confident in our ability to leverage our experience in order to deliver a competitively priced product to our eventual customers."
Avangrid Renewables, a unit of Avangrid Inc., won the lease in the federal government's auction back in March, beating out Statoil Wind US LLC. According to a U.S. Department of Energy report, North Carolina has an offshore wind potential of 634,153 GWh per year, giving it the best offshore wind potential in the South Atlantic region.
The U.S. has one operational offshore wind farm, Deepwater Wind's 30-MW Block Island Offshore Wind facility in Rhode Island. While the domestic offshore wind industry is in its early stages, experts have said its potential is promising, with the federal government's auctions and several states looking to integrate offshore wind into their grids. Statoil won an offshore wind lease in New York for $42.5 million, and the state is looking to add at least four more areas for offshore wind development.