Iberdrola wins bid to build offshore wind farm near North Carolina

The U.S.-based subsidiary of a Spanish utility company has offered $9 million in a bid to develop an offshore wind farm off the coast of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will lease 122,405 acres offshore North Carolina to Avangrid Renewables, for development of a wind energy facility off Kitty Hawk.


The company, Avangrid Renewables, bid for rights to the project during a U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management auction, the culmination of five years of public meetings to gather community input on a potential offshore wind farm.

Now that it has secured rights to the project, Avangrid must find a buyer for its electricity before construction can begin, according to a news release from the American Wind Energy Association, an industry trade group.

The first American offshore wind farm started generating power off the cost of Rhode Island late last year.

Avangrid is no stranger to North Carolina, but it was only back in January the company was hinting that the business climate in the state might not be favorable as it struggled to complete its inland wind farm for Amazon. Republican lawmakers lobbied then President-elect Trump to shut down the virtually-complete facility, citing national security concerns. Now, the Portland-based energy company with a Spanish corporate owner is set to invest again, this time in offshore wind.

Avangrid CEO James Torgerson said in a statement that “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.”

Previously, BOEM held six competitive lease sales, which generated $58 million in high bids for more than one million acres in federal waters. The agency also noted the operational launch of the nation’s first commercial offshore wind farm, the 30 MW Block Island Wind Facility developed by Deepwater Wind.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said the lease sales’ success “reflects the continued interest of coastal communities to develop their offshore energy resources.”

Zinke added that “Renewable energy, like offshore wind, is one tool in the all of the above energy toolbox that will help power America with domestic energy, securing energy independence, and bolstering the economy.”

The newly sworn-in Interior Secretary’s confirmation was not as fraught as some of Trump’s other picks. Zinke called for an “all-of-the-above” energy policy that would embrace clean coal and gas as well as clean energy technologies. He expressed support for some conservation principles, helping him win support from some Democrats and environmental groups, but also said he would support a review of the DOI’s extraction policies in Alaska.