Kitty Hawk Wind Farm takes step forward

By on August 1, 2021

It would still be several years before construction could begin on a Kitty Hawk Wind Farm. (Kitty Hawk Offshore/Avangrid Renewable)

The prospects for building the largest East Coast wind farm in the waters off Kitty Hawk took a step forward last week with the July 29 announcement by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) that it will conduct an environmental review of the project.

Even with this formal step, however, it will be several years before construction on the project can begin.

Avangrid, the lease holder for the Kitty Hawk Wind Energy Area (WEA), said that when completed, the project will produce enough “clean energy” to power 700,000 homes. 

Back in 2017, Avangrid won the rights to lease more than 122,000 acres in the Atlantic off Kitty Hawk with a bid of just over $9 million. The company already operates the Amazon Wind Farm in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties.

BOEM’s official Announcement of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) falls within the original schedule for full development of the offshore WEA. There is a 30-day public comment period that begins August 1.  Because of COVID restrictions there are no in-person meetings scheduled.

Public input is an important part of an EIS and is always included in the final approved document. Typically a Draft EIS is issued, one that will undergo revisions before a final EIS is approved. The BOEM timeline calls for the impact statement to be completed by August 2023.

After approval of an EIS there are very few steps left before construction can begin by late 2023 or early 2024.

Although the Kitty Hawk WEA is, at this point in time, the largest potential East Coast WEA, other areas in federal waters are being considered, including the waters off Massachusetts and New York. The additional areas under consideration are consistent with an initiative announced in March of this year to develop 19 Gigawatts of offshore wind energy by the year 2030.

In addition to the federal action, North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland have signed a Memo of Understanding to create the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Transformative Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Resources (SMART-POWER), hoping to facilitate cooperation among the states as they develop their offshore energy resources.

Morgan Pitts, Communications Manager for Avangrid, sees the SMART-POWER agreement as key to developing offshore wind energy.

“We believe it will play a key role to help establish North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland as a hub for the offshore wind industry,” he said.

The three virtual meetings for public comment on the project will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 10 at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, August 12 at 1:00 p.m. and Tuesday, Aug. 17 at 5:30 p.m.

To find out how to register for those meetings, click on Kitty Hawk Scoping Virtual Meetings | Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (boem.gov)

 

 

 




Comments

  • Dirk Kouglas

    If the windmills take all the wind for electricity how are we going to enjoy things like kiteboarding and hang gliding ? It’s going to be really hot without wind left too.

    Sunday, Aug 1 @ 1:46 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    I’m approving this because sometimes, we can all use a little humor.

    Sunday, Aug 1 @ 3:00 pm
  • C A

    When I read these alternative energy stories, just exactly where this power will be used.

    Capabilities of approximately 700,000 homes sounds great. The concept of this type of power generation sounds great.

    Will the power be sold to the utility companies like I’m assuming? I guess I’m wanting to know just exactly how Kitty Hawk, and our other surrounding towns, and the region in general will be benefitting?

    Other than perhaps a general tax collected by the Federal government amongst development fees. In a time of rising inflation impacting everything, might a cheaper household electric future be available?

    Or is this venture to benefit the pockets of the few?

    I realize this question would be one to ask at a public hearing, Covid or not but I’m curious if this answer is already known out there.

    Sunday, Aug 1 @ 2:08 pm
  • WindyBill

    Make it happen! I’ve seen elec windmills on a mountain ridge in Pa, and the windfarms in NE NC. I think they are graceful, produce insignificant noise, signal a win in killing the CO2 demon, and further represent poorer and angry fossil fuel producers. Win to the 4th power!!!! Further, basing some shifts of workers in Wanchese would be a supurlative bonus for Dare!

    Sunday, Aug 1 @ 2:11 pm
  • John R Day

    OK, sounds good but benefit is to speculator developers, nothing for locals. And how many birds will be killed ea year?

    Sunday, Aug 1 @ 5:35 pm
  • Jorge Diaz

    Not sure it’s a good idea, will Kitty Hawk and others benefit from lower power costs? Moreover, windmills kill birds…

    Sunday, Aug 1 @ 7:27 pm
  • Johnny

    It’s amazing to read comments… the same people demanding so called clean energy don’t want this type because it may kill birds… what do you want then? You don’t want nuclear… solar is basically nothing but toxic materials that can’t be recycled when the panels life cycles are up… make up your minds.

    And yes to those concerned, of course the power will be sold to utilities since it will go directly into the grid.

    Sunday, Aug 1 @ 8:04 pm
  • Kitty Hawker

    If I remember from the previous article I believe that the power will be utilized in Virginia and not benefit any locals in any way

    Sunday, Aug 1 @ 8:06 pm
  • There's wind between some of y'all's ears

    1. Check your power bill — we get already get our electricity from Dominon (VA), ergo this energy could feed Outer Banks homes as much as nuke, coal etc.
    2. Think bigger — a lower carbon footprint means the whole planet benefits (particularly low-lying coastal areas)
    3. Safer environmentally — and economically — than oil
    4. you gotta start someplace
    5. the bulk of your anti-wind talking points are generated and fueled by the fossil fuel industry (same ones who called climate change a myth for half-a-century plus, while simultaneously preparing their infrastructure for its negative impacts)

    Monday, Aug 2 @ 5:30 am
  • Jim

    Isn’t funny how fast this can move, but it took over 25 years to approve a replacement bridge and 25 plus years to try approve the Mid-Currituck Bridge all citing the environment. While the safety of the Bonner Bridge was in question and thousands of gallons of fossil fuels for gas/diesel/electric vehicles are burned in traffic going north & south through Southern Shores, Duck and Corolla every weekend during the season.

    Monday, Aug 2 @ 7:56 am
  • Rosie

    Build it. It’s way past time to move alternative energy sources forward.

    Monday, Aug 2 @ 10:00 am
  • Mike Honcho

    Very good point Jim. The savings in volume of fossil fuels over the life of the Mid-Currituck Bridge versus the route through Southern Shores and Duck would more than offset the environmental impact of building the bridge.
    Furthermore, I would like to see what this wind farm would cost start-finish, annual maintenance and upkeep costs, compared to actual energy generated. On a side note, this project could be a good Segway to a more permanent solution at Oregon Inlet. I am assuming the bulk of the construction/maintenance traffic would be on vessels coming and going through Oregon Inlet, and a company with such a sizeable investment would have an interest in maintaining safe passage through the inlet for many years to come.

    Monday, Aug 2 @ 12:01 pm
  • Linda B

    Perhaps by the time they actually begin the construction stage they will finally have a different type of windmill. Recently saw a news clip about a windmill being developed that does not require the huge rotating arms. The Netherlands is way ahead of the US in wind power. Wish I could remember where I saw the news clip.

    Monday, Aug 2 @ 4:41 pm
  • Cecile Thorpthis us a National Seashore, a National Treasure

    The Outer Banks is a National Seashore.
    A National Treasure.
    The Wind Turbines have not place obstructing our shoreline and should not be allowed to move forward.
    The the beautiful pristine seascape must be protected. The historic graveyard of the Atlantic must be preserved.

    I vote NO!

    Monday, Aug 2 @ 5:08 pm
  • Dethrol

    At its closest point, the Kitty Hawk WEA is more than 27 miles from land. You’ll never see it, hear it, or otherwise know it’s there without a boat or plane. The area comprises about 122 square miles in an Atlantic Ocean of more than 41,000,000 square miles. I doubt very many people reading this article could even find the WEA either on a boat or an airplane, unless they used GPS or some form of radar. The maintenance is just as likely to come out of the Norfolk area rather than an OBX harbor since the area is about as close to Virginia Beach as it is to a NC harbor. Finally, because I’m a huge bird lover myself, I call BS on any significance to the bird population that exists between 27 and 50 miles from the North Carolina coast. The migratory paths of some species probably overlap the WEA, but not at an altitude that would cause problems for the birds. The Environmental Impact Statement, required and scrutinized by a bloated, corrupt government agency will apply more than enough oversight for the project. If we need alternative energy, it has to come from somewhere. This project is solid in its concept and could go a long way toward meeting future energy needs, as long as the NIMBY crowd doesn’t get in the way.

    Monday, Aug 2 @ 6:20 pm
  • Debbie Lynn

    Every one should watch “Planet Human” and then decide. I vote no.

    Tuesday, Aug 3 @ 9:44 am
  • WindyBill

    1. The windfarm will Not be visible from the Hatteras Natl Seashore. I don’t think it will be visable from any shore. 2. OBX gets its electricity from Virginia now!! 3. Very few birds migrate that far out.

    Tuesday, Aug 3 @ 2:09 pm
  • KO

    I agree with Donald J. Trump on Wind Farms. They are TACKY and they KILL birds. I don’t want to ruin the beautiful atlantic ocean off the coast of Kitty Hawk with these monsters. They look like something from the Planet Of the Apes !!! HUMANS are bound and determined to DESTROY this beautiful earth !!! Leave GOD’S beautiful ocean ALONE !!! NO TRASHY, TACKY WIND TURBINES IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN OFF THE COAST OF KITTY HAWK !!!

    Tuesday, Aug 3 @ 7:18 pm
  • KO

    THE OUTER BANKS VOICE keeps REMOVING AND ERASING MY COMMENTS which are CLEAN but apparently because I OPPOSE the WIND TURBINES, they are REMOVING MY COMMENTS !!! SO MUCH FOR FREEDOM OF SPEECH !!! DON’T WORRY THOUGH, I’LL SUBMIT MY COMMENTS WHERE THEY WILL REALLY COUNT IN THE WEEKS AHEAD !!!

    Tuesday, Aug 3 @ 7:49 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    KO. As you can see now, your comment was published and not deleted. What happens when someone posts a comment is that it originally is posted and then comes down automatically until I can moderate it. I can’t spend my whole day moderating these comments, but I try to get to them every few hours. So you have to be a bit patient.

    Tuesday, Aug 3 @ 10:00 pm
  • Frank R

    i support 100%, mainly because they will not be seen from shore, and environmentally sound. Build it!

    Monday, Aug 9 @ 2:00 pm