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

The League of Women Voters of the Lower Cape Fear is sponsoring later this month an online presentation on a proposed offshore wind lease sale in the Wilmington area.

“The Opportunity for Offshore Wind in NC” presentation begins at 11 a.m. Jan. 19. Register online in advance of the meeting to receive a confirmation email with details on how to join. The presentation will be recorded for those unable to attend.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is proposing a lease sale for the Wilmington East Wind Area, about 15 nautical miles from Brunswick County, and applications are due Jan. 3 from prospective bidders, according to BOEM.

“We want to help inform local residents, organizations, and elected officials about Offshore Wind,” organizers said in an email.

Co-founding members of the Offshore Wind for North Carolina coalition, or OSW4NC, Greg Andeck of Audubon North Carolina and Jaime Simmons of the Southeastern Wind Coalition will present the environmental, economic, and electricity system benefits of offshore wind, and address many common questions involving the viewshed impacts, military engagement, and tourism.

The Wilmington East Wind Area and Wilmington West WEA, which begins about 10 nautical miles from shore, are part of a larger planning area BOEM refers to as the Carolina Long Bay area offshore the Carolinas.

BOEM published a proposed sale notice Nov. 1, 2021, for the Wilmington East WEA and opened a 60-day comment period, which ends Jan. 3. The proposed sale notice proposes issuing up to three commercial wind energy leases. The area totals approximately 127,865 acres and includes the majority of the Wilmington East WEA.

In August BOEM committed to releasing an updated draft environmental assessment of proposed wind leasing options off the North Carolina coast, which it did in December. The agency is accepting comments until11:59 p.m. Jan. 7.

BOEM said the update of the environmental review would include information relevant to environmental considerations unavailable 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, according to a past report.

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