Next steps unveiled for 4.5 GW California offshore wind lease auction

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 27/05/2022 DOI

The Department of the Interior has announced the next steps for offshore wind lease sales in two regions on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore California. This is the first ever offshore wind lease sale proposed on America’s west coast.


The Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) includes three proposed lease areas in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area off central California and two proposed lease areas in the Humboldt Wind Energy Area off northern California, totalling approximately 373,268 acres. According to BOEM, they have the potential to unlock over 4.5 GW of offshore wind energy and power more than 1.5 million homes.


The PSN, which will publish in the Federal Register on 31 May 2022, opens a 60-day public comment period and provides detailed information about the proposed lease areas, proposed lease provisions and conditions, and auction details. BOEM is seeking feedback on several lease stipulations that will reaffirm its commitment to create union jobs and engage with Tribal governments, under-served communities, ocean users, and other stakeholders.

Some of these potential stipulations include a 2.5% bidding credit to bidders who have executed or commit to executing a community benefit agreement with a community or ocean users (e.g., commercial fisheries) whose use of a lease area, or whose use of resources harvested from a lease area, is directly impacted by the lessee’s potential offshore wind energy development.


A further 20% bidding credit will be available for bidders who commit to invest in programs that will advance U.S. offshore wind energy workforce training, supply chain development, or both.


BOEM also requires lessees to make "every reasonable effort" to enter into a project labour agreement, covering the construction of any project proposed for the lease area.


Furthermore, lessees are required to engage with Tribes, underserved communities, ocean users, and agencies, reporting their engagement and make reasonable efforts to implement their projects in a manner that minimises and mitigates their projects’ adverse effects, if any, on these parties.


Comments received by the end of the public comment period will be considered before deciding whether to publish a final sale notice, which would then announce the time and date of the lease sale, as well as list the companies qualified to participate in it.


Prospective bidders, not previously qualified for a California lease sale, are required to submit mandatory qualification materials to BOEM. Qualification materials must be postmarked no later than 1 August 2022.


To date, BOEM has held 10 competitive lease sales and has issued 25 active commercial offshore wind leases in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to North Carolina.
Earlier this month, BOEM concluded a wind energy auction covering two lease areas offshore the Carolinas, United States after 18 rounds of bids.

For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.