U.S. to hold wind energy auction for two areas off Carolinas

Source: By Reuters • Posted: Sunday, March 27, 2022

The agency said it approved CGI as a buyer after reviewing the company’s agreement with Hilton Worldwide, which will turn the hotel into a Waldorf Astoria, as well as the company’s financial capabilities and ability to secure bank financing.

While the GSA’s decision was largely perfunctory, it moves Trump’s business one step closer toward unloading a hotel that became a center of controversy during his presidency — and which has recently drawn interest from New York prosecutors looking into whether he misled the government in his initial application for the lease.

Trump’s lease only required the GSA to perform a limited review, including whether a prospective buyer has the experience and financial assets to manage and operate the property. The deal is expected to close in the coming weeks, according to a person familiar with the transaction, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share private business dealings.

Although the hotel struggled financially during most of Trump’s time in office due to his controversial brand, the lease is expected to sell to CGI for $375 million. A sale at that price would deliver Trump an estimated profit of more than $100 million, according to analyses by industry analysts.

The Biden administration on Friday announced it will hold a wind energy auction for two areas off the coast of North and South Carolina in May as part of its plan to ramp up a nascent clean energy industry.

The move is the latest in a broad government effort to put wind turbines in federal waters along every U.S. coastline, with a goal of generating 30 gigawatts of power from offshore wind by 2030. President Biden has said the new industry will serve to create good-paying jobs and combat climate change.

On the heels of a record offshore lease sale in New York, that drew a record $4.37 billion in high bids, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will offer two areas covering 110,091 acres in the Carolina Long Bay area that could generate as much as 1.3 gigawatts of offshore wind energy — enough to power a half million homes.

Environmental group Oceana praised the announcement, saying “offshore wind is a critical piece of the puzzle when confronting the climate crisis.”

A fishing industry group, however, said the sale notice lacked important protections for fisheries, including a buffer area between leases.

“BOEM is repeating several mistakes it’s made in other regions,” Responsible Offshore Development Alliance Executive Director Annie Hawkins said.

Offshore wind power in the United States has lagged European nations in deploying the technology. Currently, the United States has just two small offshore wind facilities, off the coasts of Rhode Island and Virginia, along with two additional commercial-scale projects recently approved.