Bidding kicks off tomorrow morning in the 1.5GW North Carolina offshore wind auction.

Nine suitors qualified to compete for the Kitty Hawk lease although Northland Power, Shell and Apex Clean Energy have quit the race.

Avangrid, Enbridge, PNE Wind and Statoil are eligible, but refused to comment if they will take part.

Wind Future told reNEWS it plans to bid and WPD did not comment.

The auction will follow the ascending round format that saw Statoil secure the 1GW New York lease area for $42.5m last year.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management sets the price in each round.

The 49,000-hectare Kitty Hawk site starts about 45km off the coast.

North Carolina’s waters have the strongest offshore wind potential using traditional technology on the US east coast, according to federal studies.

However, the state does not have a definitive offshore wind policy and the route to market remains uncertain.

Recently elected Democrat governor Roy Cooper has said he will “return to pursuing renewable energy”, but has yet to detail his plans. will be covering the auction live online. Check out the website throughout the day for updates.

Image: Deepwater Wind