The winning bids at the latest US federal offshore wind auction — for acreage off North and South Carolina — were nearly 70% lower than the previous tender held in February off New York, prompting industry observers and analysts to question the significance of this price drop.

North Carolina-based utility Duke Energy and French oil major TotalEnergies each won one of the two 750MW lease areas up for grabs at the Carolina Long Bay auction, with winning bids of $155m and $160m, respectively — a far cry from the $4.4bn