Today the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the results of the first offshore wind lease sale on the West Coast. The provisional winners of the lease sale are: RWE Offshore Wind Holdings; California North Floating; Equinor Wind US; Central California Offshore Wind; and Invenergy California Offshore. These companies emerged as successful bidders out of the original pool of 43 eligible bidders and will have the opportunity to develop commercial-scale floating wind farms off the California coast.
BOEM offered five lease areas off Morro Bay and Humboldt County that cover approximately 373,268 acres. Bidding in the online auction began Tuesday morning and continued to Wednesday afternoon. The auction drew competitive winning bids from five companies totaling approximately $757.1 million. The results for each lease area are detailed in the table below:
BOEM’s issuance of a lease to an entity does not constitute approval of project-specific plans to develop the area. Lessee’s project-specific plans will require additional BOEM authorization and be subject to environmental, technical, and public review. Developers will have to navigate complex and extensive federal and state permitting processes. Offshore wind developers will also be tasked with resolving interconnection issues and planning for how projects will be integrated with the existing electric transmission grid. To learn more about the environmental permitting and interconnection considerations, check out Downey Brand’s previous article here.
The lease sale is a significant milestone for California’s offshore wind efforts and puts the State one step closer to reaching its goal of producing at least 25 gigawatts from offshore wind by 2045.