Historic Offshore Wind Lease Sale in California Gets Over $750 Million in Winning Bids
"If we build on today's forward momentum, the United States can dramatically reduce its global warming emissions and become a global leader in renewable energy technologies like deep-water offshore wind."
Climate and environmental campaigners on Wednesday hailed the first-ever U.S. government offshore wind power lease sale off the Pacific coast, an auction that drew over three-quarters of a billion dollars in winning bids.
"Today's lease sale is further proof that industry momentum--including for floating offshore wind development--is undeniable."
The U.S. Interior Department said Wednesday that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's wind energy auction on Tuesday for five leases covering 373,000 acres off the California coast drew winning bids totaling $757.1 million from five companies.
The five sites offshore lease sites--two near Eureka in Humboldt County in far northern California and three near Morro Bay off the Central Coast--could, when developed, power nearly 1.6 million homes.
The Interior Department said that "the interest and success of today's sale represents a significant milestone toward achieving President [Joe] Biden's goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 and 15 gigawatts of floating offshore wind capacity 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," U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. "Today's lease sale is further proof that industry momentum--including for floating offshore wind development--is undeniable."
\u201cJUST ANNOUNCED | The high bids and provisional winners of the #CaliforniaOffshoreWindLeaseSale \n\n\ud83c\udf0a 5 lease areas; over 373K acres \n\ud83d\udcc5 2 Days + 31 Rounds of Auction \n\ud83d\udd0c 4.6GW energy potential \n\ud83c\udfe0 1.5M homes with clean power \n\nDetails on this sale: https://t.co/U3qoiOXWky\u201d— Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (@Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) 1670443827
"A sustainable, clean energy future is within our grasp and the Interior Department is doing everything we can to ensure that American communities nationwide benefit," Haaland added.
The Pacific auction follows the federal government's $4.37 billion sale earlier this year of six offshore wind leases off New York and New Jersey.
Green groups and clean energy boosters also welcomed Wednesday's announcement.
"The auction today is a major milestone in California's path towards investing in offshore wind," said Laura Deehan, state director at Environment America. "In just a few years' time, our state will have a new and important tool in our fight against climate change. We are looking forward to the day when clean electricity from our coastal winds can be put to work cutting pollution from our homes, cars, and industry."
\u201cExciting development for #renewableenergy in CA...Today the federal gov. is auctioning lease sales for offshore wind projects off coasts in Morro Bay & Humboldt. The results of the auction will offer the first key signs for gauging how strong the market is https://t.co/9LqsbSYu42\u201d— Nadia Lopez (@Nadia Lopez) 1670349878
John Rogers, a senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in a statement that "the offshore wind lease sales finalized in California today represent another hopeful moment in the state and country's transition to clean energy."
"The high level of interest and investment in these leases by offshore wind industry leaders and elected officials demonstrates a widespread, long-term commitment to doing what it takes to grow renewable energy and decarbonize the U.S. electric grid," he continued. "It's encouraging to see projects like this that will help limit the devastating and deadly impacts of climate change on communities, the environment, and the economy."
"The waters off the Pacific coast offer a massive resource for offshore wind power," Rogers said. "These new leases are a big step forward for floating offshore wind technology, which is key for harnessing the wind in deep-water areas off the West Coast, and places like the Gulf of Maine."
"A lot goes into doing these projects right--for the environment, workers, and the communities that rely on the leased areas," he added. "But if we build on today's forward momentum, the United States can dramatically reduce its global warming emissions and become a global leader in renewable energy technologies like deep-water offshore wind."