US to Lease Out Areas Off the California Coast for Offshore Wind Projects

The area has the potential to produce 4.5 GW of wind power

October 19, 2022


The U.S. government said it would hold a lease sale for areas off the West Coast for wind projects that are critical to achieving the administration’s offshore wind energy goals of 30 GW by 2030 and a floating offshore wind energy target of 15 GW by 2035.

The area on offer is located on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off central and northern California in the Pacific Ocean and is spread across approximately 373,268 acres. It has the potential to produce around 4.5 GW of offshore wind energy, which can power over 1.5 million homes while extending employment opportunities to thousands of individuals.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) would host offshore wind energy leases sale on December 6. It is expected to support potential commercial-scale floating offshore wind energy development on the country’s west coast.

BOEM Director Amanda Lefton said, “Today’s announcement represents years of close coordination and engagement with the state of California, tribes, ocean users, local communities, and all interested parties to move us closer towards achieving the administration’s vision to fight climate change and realizing California’s clean energy future while creating a domestic supply chain and good-paying union jobs.”

BOEM said it would offer bidding credits for bidders who enter community benefits agreements or invest in workforce training or supply chain development. The Bureau would require winning bidders to make efforts to enter into project labor agreements and engage with local tribes, underserved communities, ocean users, and agencies.

The latest leasing activity follows Secretary Deb Haaland and California Governor Gavin Newson’s announcement of an agreement advancing operations in areas for wind energy development offshore the northern and central coasts of California.

California’s final sales notice, to be published in the Federal Register later this week, will provide all details on the finalized lease areas, lease provisions and conditions, and information on the auction.

The notice would also include the names of the firms qualified to participate in the lease auction. It includes three lease areas off the central California coast and two lease areas off the northern California coast.

Last month, the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Department of Energy published a report stating that the country needs to deploy 40-90 GW of solar and 70-15- GW of wind energy annually until 2030 to decarbonize America’s power sector by 2035.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council, currently, 23 GW of offshore wind projects are under construction. With a 49.5% market share, Europe is now taking the lead in offshore wind project construction, followed by Asia with 46.4%, and the U.S. with 4.1%.