BOEM Convening First Offshore Wind Lease Sale for the U.S. West Coast

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The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is holding an offshore wind energy lease sale on Dec. 6 for areas on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off central and northern California, the Department of the Interior has announced.

This will be the first-ever offshore wind lease sale on America’s west coast and the first-ever U.S. sale to support potential commercial-scale floating offshore wind energy development.

“I am proud of the teams at the Interior Department that are moving forward at the pace and scale required to help achieve the president’s goals to make offshore wind energy, including floating offshore wind energy, a reality for the United States,” says Secretary Deb Haaland. “Today, we are taking another step toward unlocking the immense offshore wind energy potential off our nation’s west coast to help combat the effects of climate change while lowering costs for American families and creating good-paying union jobs.”

In May 2021, Haaland and California Gov. Gavin Newsom joined Biden-Harris administration leaders to announce an agreement to advance areas for wind energy development offshore the northern and central coasts of California. The California sale reflects the leasing path announced last year by Haaland and last month’s announcement of a new deployment goal of 15 GW of floating offshore wind energy by 2035.

BOEM will offer five California OCS lease areas that total approximately 373,268 acres with the potential to produce over 4.5 GW of offshore wind energy, power more than 1.5 million homes and support thousands of new jobs.

“This 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,” states BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “BOEM remains committed to ensuring transparency and active engagement with stakeholders throughout the post-leasing process.”

To date, BOEM has held 10 competitive lease sales and issued 27 active commercial wind leases in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to North Carolina.

The California Final Sale Notice (FSN) provides detailed information about the final lease areas, lease provisions and conditions, and auction details. It also identifies qualified companies that can participate in the lease auction.

The FSN includes three lease areas off central California and two lease areas off northern California. It also includes several lease stipulations designed to promote the development of a robust domestic U.S. supply chain, advance flexibility in transmission planning and create good paying union jobs. Among the stipulations announced, BOEM will offer bidding credits for bidders who enter into community benefit agreements or invest in workforce training or supply chain development; require winning bidders to make efforts to enter into project labor agreements; and require engagement with Tribes, underserved communities, ocean users and agencies.

“The future of offshore wind is floating, and this lease auction announcement is another exciting step to advancing the U.S. as a premier market for this cutting-edge industry, which will bring a reliable renewable resource to California’s power sector,” states Liz Burdock, president and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind.

“Bolstered both by California’s long-term goals and the federal government’s Earth Shot initiative, the West Coast market will singularly rival those on the global stage and could draw billions in U.S. supply chain investments. However, the U.S. must move with urgency to capture this rare economic opportunity by freeing up critical support for port and transmission investments, and do the hard work to identify and build an American supply chain that will anchor the U.S. as a global industry leader.”

On May 26, the Department announced the Proposed Sale Notice for offshore wind energy development located offshore central and northern California. During the 60-day comment period, BOEM received valuable feedback on several lease stipulations that reaffirmed BOEM’s commitment to create good-paying union jobs and to engage with Tribal governments, underserved communities, ocean users and other stakeholders.

Read more about the FSN here.

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