The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is to conduct an environmental review of the first wind energy project to have been proposed offshore North Carolina
The project, Kitty Hawk, if approved, would be the first to operate offshore North Carolina and has the potential to provide considerable economic benefits to the region during construction and throughout the project’s lifetime. The project would make landfall in Virginia Beach and could eventually provide power to Virginia. The project is being proposed by Avangrid Renewables, a subsidiary of Avangrid, part of Iberdrola Group.
The first part of the project to be addressed by BOEM, Kitty Hawk North, consists of nearly 50,000 acres located over 27 miles off the coast of the Outer Banks, due east of Corolla, North Carolina, with a capacity of at least 800 MW.
When the entire 122,405 acre Kitty Hawk wind energy area is developed, it is expected to support a total generation capacity of up to 2.5 GW. BOEM awarded Avangrid Renewables a lease for the development of an offshore wind project there in 2017.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said, “Offshore wind is a critical component of this administration’s commitment to confronting climate change, creating thousands of good-paying union jobs, and jump starting our country’s transition to a cleaner energy future.
“States are stepping up and working together to lift up this growing industry. At the Interior Department, we are doing our part to ensure all of these projects are done thoughtfully and with consideration of impacts to surrounding communities.”
Avangrid Renewables head of offshore wind Bill White said, “Kitty Hawk North is a game-changer for the mid-Atlantic.
“Not only can this project help Virginia and North Carolina meet their clean energy goals with cost-effective power, but Kitty Hawk will help a new industry take flight in this region and create thousands of quality jobs.”
BOEM has published a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in the Federal Register, which will open a 30-day public comment period extending through 30 August 2021.
BOEM will review a Construction and Operations Plan submitted by Kitty Hawk Wind LLC (Kitty Hawk) for the project, which consists of up to 69 wind turbines, an offshore substation, inter-array cables, and up to two transmission cables.
North Carolina has set ambitious goals to develop 2.8 GW of offshore wind energy off the state’s coast by 2030 and 8 GW by 2040. The state estimates that meeting that goal would power 2.3M homes by 2040.
The Commonwealth of Virginia enacted the Virginia Clean Economy Act in 2020, which sets a target to produce its electricity from 100% renewable sources by 2045, with 5.2 GW of offshore wind energy by 2034. If approved, this project will contribute towards each of the state’s offshore wind goals.
BOEM director Amanda Lefton said, “The full economic benefits of offshore wind energy can only be realised if we all come together to advance responsible development of offshore wind.
“If approved, the Kitty Hawk offshore wind project will not only provide clean, reliable energy where it is needed most, it will help boost the region as a manufacturing and supply chain hub for the offshore wind industry.”
Avangrid Renewables president and chief executive Alejandro de Hoz said, “Kitty Hawk builds on our successful development of more than 1.6 GW of offshore wind projects in New England.
“Kitty Hawk can transform the energy mix of Virginia and North Carolina while delivering a triple-win for the environment, coastal communities and the region’s economy. We look forward to continuing our work with state and local leaders, BOEM and communities to begin the formal environmental review and ultimately deliver this transformational project.”
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