California Lease Sale Winners Are: RWE, Equinor, CIP, Ocean Winds, and Invenergy. Floating Wind Farm Capacities Higher than Initially Estimated

This article has been updated on 8 December with information on Invenergy’s lease area capacity and the total capacity of the five lease areas according to developers’ announcements. The article has also been amended to clarify that the estimated capacities are for lease areas, which may contain more than a single project.

Illustration; Hywind Scotland, world's first floating wind farm. Source: Øyvind Gravås / Woldcam / Equinor

The winners of the first US offshore wind lease sale on the Pacific coast and the first-ever to procure floating wind capacity in the country are: RWE Offshore Wind Holdings, Equinor Wind US, Invenergy California Offshore, California North Floating (Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners), and Central California Offshore Wind (Ocean Winds).


The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has brought in USD 757.1 million to the Treasury from the winning bids for the five lease areas and said that this well exceeded the first lease sales that were held in the Atlantic.

The lease sale included a 20 per cent credit for bidders who committed to a monetary contribution to programmes or initiatives that support workforce training programmes for the floating offshore wind industry, the development of a US domestic supply chain for the floating offshore wind energy industry, or both.

This credit will result in over USD 117 million in investments for these programmes or initiatives, BOEM says.

As wrote today, based on the US Department of the Interior’s note before the New York Bight lease sale and its subsequent results, the California offshore wind auction will also yield much higher installation capacities than initially estimated due to advancements in offshore wind technology.

Equinor, RWE, Ocean Winds, and CIP have announced immediately after being revealed as provisional winners that their lease areas have the potential to host around 2 GW (Equinor), 2 GW (Ocean Winds), 1.6 GW (RWE), and over 1 GW (Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners) of installed capacity.

Shortly after this, Invenergy also said via social media that its lease area has an installation capacity of 1.5+ GW.

This is well beyond the originally estimated lease area capacities and almost double the expected total capacity of 4.5 GW, which now climbed to at least 8.1 GW.


The lease area won by RWE (OCS-P 0561) is the smallest of the five offered offshore California and it is one of the two areas auctioned off in the Humboldt Bay lease area. CIP, through its project company California North Floating, has won the lease for the other site in Humboldt Bay (OCS-P 0562).

In the Morro Bay lease area, the two biggest lease areas (both covering 80,418 acres) are secured by Ocean Winds (OCS-P 0564) and the US renewable energy developer Invenergy (OCS-P 0565). Equinor has secured the rights for the third Morro Bay lease area, which covers a little over 80,000 acres (OCS-P 0563).

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