Area Lease Auction for Offshore Wind Projects in California Raises $757 Million

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The Biden administration said that it has received more than $757 million in winning bids for offshore wind development rights in California, making it the third major lease sale in this category this year and the first ever for the Pacific region.

The list of successful bidders included RWE Offshore Wind Holdings, California North Floating, Equinor Wind U.S., Central California Offshore Wind, and Invenergy California Offshore.

The highest bid came from California North Floating at $173.8 million for an area of 69,031 acres.

The online auction allowed qualified offshore wind developers to bid on five lease areas.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) auction offered five lease areas covering 373,268 acres off the California coast. The leased areas can produce over 4.6 GW of offshore wind energy, enough to power over 1.5 million homes.

In October, the U.S. government had said it would hold a lease sale for areas off the West Coast for wind projects that are critical to achieving the administration’s offshore wind energy goals of 30 GW by 2030 and a floating offshore wind energy target of 15 GW by 2035.

“The Biden-Harris administration believes that to address the climate crisis head-on, we must unleash a new era of clean, reliable energy that serves every household in America. Today’s lease sale is proof that industry momentum – including for floating offshore wind development – is undeniable,” Secretary Deb Haaland said.

The auction included a 20% credit for bidders who committed to providing monetary aid for workforce training programs for the floating offshore wind industry, developing a domestic supply chain for the floating offshore wind energy segment, or both.

It would result in $117 million in investments for these critical initiatives.

According to a report published by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy, the United States needs to deploy 40 to 90 GW of solar and 70 to 150 GW of wind energy every year until 2030 to decarbonize the country’s power sector by 2035.

In March this year, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the New York Bight Offshore Wind Lease auction results, which was the nation’s highest-grossing competitive offshore energy lease sale in history. The lease areas were awarded to Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind Bight, Attentive Energy, Bight Wind Holdings, Invenergy Wind Offshore, Mid-Atlantic Offshore Wind, and O.W. Ocean Winds East.