California offshore wind lease auction draws $757 million in high bids

Written by Nick Blenkey
California offshore wind lease sale will be first for floaters

California offshore wind sale will be first to support potential commercial-scale floating offshore wind energy development. Image: DOE

The Department of the Interior today announced results from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s wind energy auction for five leases offshore California. The lease sale represents the third major offshore wind lease sale this year and the first ever for the Pacific region. Today’s sale drew competitive high bids from five companies totaling $757.1 million, well exceeding the first lease sales that were held in the Atlantic.

Provisional Winner  Lease Area  Acres  High Bid  
RWE Offshore Wind Holdings, LLC   OCS-P 0561     63,338    $157,700,000   
California North Floating, LLC  OCS-P 0562 69,031 $173,800,000 
Equinor Wind US, LLC  OCS-P 0563 80,062 $130,000,000  
Central California Offshore Wind, LLC  OCS-P 0564 80,418 $150,300,000 
Invenergy California Offshore LLC  

The largest bid came from Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) affiliate California North Floating, LLC.

CIP Senior Partner Torsten Smed said, “California is expected to develop into a key market for floating offshore wind and the auction represented a strong investment opportunity for us. By adding the new lease area to our portfolio and based on our large global portfolio of floating offshore projects in different stages of development we are uniquely positioned to lead the commercialization of floating offshore wind in the U.S.”

Since entering the U.S. offshore market in 2016, CIP has built a leading offshore wind position through its affiliate Vineyard Offshore. This includes Vineyard Wind 1, the country’s first commercial scale offshore wind project which is currently under construction, as well as two lease areas under development totaling approximately 5.0 GW off the coast of Massachusetts and New York.

“The future of offshore wind is floating, and we are proud to have taken this first important step in building an attractive floating offshore pipeline off the U.S. West Coast,” continued Smed. “We look forward to supporting the ambitious offshore goals of the State of California and do our part in ensuring the local job creation and the environmental improvements that will benefit the entire state.”

National Ocean Industries Association President Erik Milito issued the following statement:

“The California lease sale gives the U.S. a chance to lead the emerging floating wind sector. Floating wind technology in its early stages but it is an advanced technology that will lead to strong growth in the deployment of offshore wind. The timely scaling and deployment of floating wind technology will be vital in meeting U.S. and global renewable energy goals. The U.S. stands well-positioned to develop our deepwater wind resources and become a global hub of floating wind innovation. Offshore wind is a national endeavor with substantial benefits to our energy, jobs, and investment outlook. “

“We are only at step one of U.S. floating wind leadership. The success of American offshore wind depends on further collaboration among stakeholders. Specifically, continued engagement between BOEM, NOAA, the military and other oceanic users will help ensure that sufficient flexibility is provided, investment is promoted, and project impediments are avoided.”

The Business Network for Offshore Wind called the auction “an important milestone toward meeting both the Biden Administration’s goal of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 15 GW of floating offshore wind by 2035 as well as California’s goal of 25 GW by 2045—the most aggressive state goal to-date. With today’s completed lease sale, which also raised tens of millions allocated for floating supply chain development, the U.S. will have a premier opportunity to develop a robust floating wind turbine supply chain that can compete on the global stage.”

More stats on the sale results HERE

Categories: News, Offshore, Offshore Wind Tags: ,