The blue marks the Wilmington East Wind Energy Area. Image: BOEM

The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Wednesday released a draft supplemental environmental assessment related to its plan announced in August to update the environmental review of proposed wind leasing options off the North Carolina coast.

The release opens a 30-day public comment period on the draft assessment. Comments are due by 11:59 p.m. Jan. 7.

BOEM is proposing a lease sale for the Wilmington East Wind Energy Area, or WEA, in the Carolina Long Bay Area offshore North Carolina and South Carolina. The proposed area is about 127,865 acres and includes the majority of the Wilmington East WEA, which officials said has the potential to produce 1.5 gigawatts, or enough to power more than 500,000 homes.

BOEM had said the update of the environmental review would factor in new information relevant to environmental considerations that were not available in 2015 when Commercial Wind Lease Issuance and Site Assessment Activities on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Offshore North Carolina – Revised Environmental Assessment was released.

BOEM is hosting two virtual public meetings to provide an overview of the supplemental assessment and to obtain public input. The meetings are set for 1 p.m. Dec. 14 and 5 p.m. Dec. 15.  Ways to comment and more information on the meetings can be found on the BOEM website.

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