Powerhouses Clash Offshore California in Bid to Build Wind Farms

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is holding a live auction, starting on 6 December, for the rights to develop floating offshore wind energy projects in five areas off the California Coast.

This is the first-ever offshore wind lease sale on the US Pacific coast and the first-ever through which the country is supporting commercial-scale floating wind farms.

The lease areas are located on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off central and northern California, cover approximately 373,268 acres, and have a combined capacity of over 4.5 GW.

BOEM anticipates that the auction may extend over two or more consecutive business days.

Source: BOEM

43 Developers Eligible to Bid

BOEM has determined that 43 entities are legally, technically, and financially qualified to hold a commercial wind lease offshore California, and may participate in this lease sale as bidders.

The list includes names such as Avangrid Renewables, bp, EDF, EDPR, Equinor, Northland Power, Ørsted, RWE, Shell, SSE, and TotalEnergies, among others.

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Japan’s JERA and Marubeni have also qualified as bidders in this auction.

Floating wind technology developers such as Hexicon and BW Ideol are also on the list of eligible bidders.

The Lease Areas

Three lease areas are located off central California: Central Coast (Morro Bay) CA Lease OCS-P 0563, Central Coast (Morro Bay) CA Lease OCS-P 0564, and Central Coast (Morro Bay) CA Lease OCS-P 0565.

The remaining two areas are off northern California: North Coast (Humboldt) CA Lease OCS-P 0561, and North Coast (Humboldt) CA Lease OCS-P 0562.

Source: BOEM

The monetary auction, using a multiple-factor bidding auction format, will be held online and will begin at 7 a.m. PST/10 a.m. EST/ 4 p.m. CET.

The issuance of any lease resulting from this sale would not constitute approval of project-specific plans to develop offshore wind energy.

Such plans would be subject to subsequent environmental, technical, and public reviews prior to a BOEM decision on whether the proposed development should be authorized.

This lease sale has been labeled as critical to achieving the Biden-Harris administration’s deployment goal of 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030, as well as the recently announced floating wind target of 15 GW by 2035.

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Photo: Ideol/Illustration