CA - The First-Ever California Offshore Wind Lease Sale

Next week the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold the first-ever offshore wind lease sale on the U.S. west coast, which will also be the first U.S. sale to support potential commercial-scale, floating offshore wind energy development.

This lease sale is part of the leasing path announced last year by Secretary Deb Haaland to meet the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 and to deploy 15 GW of floating offshore wind energy capacity by 2035, and will help California meet its ambitious offshore wind goal of deploying 5 GW by 2030 and 25 GW by 2045, the largest regional target in the nation.  

Increasing Energy Capacity  

The California Final Sale Notice (FSN) includes three lease areas in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area (WEA) off the coast of central California, and two lease areas in the Humboldt WEA off the coast of northern California. The WEAs were subdivided so that each lease area:

  • Is of roughly equal power generation potential and geographical size, and
  • Is delineated in a manner to maximize energy generation.

Together, these five lease areas cover approximately 373,268 acres and have the potential to unlock over 4.6 GW of offshore wind energy, power more than 1.5 million homes, and support new good-paying jobs.

Potential Energy Impact of each of the lease areas.

The final WEAs were designated following an environmental assessment (EA) process that included public comment opportunities and considered potential environmental impacts from site characterization activities and site assessment activities associated with issuing wind energy leases in the WEAs.

Both the Humboldt WEA Final EA and the Morro Bay WEA Final EA analyses found that offshore wind leasing and site characterization in the lease areas would cause no significant impact on the environment. Further environmental reviews would be conducted on any projects that are proposed for the lease areas.

Delivering Community Benefits and Labor Agreements  

To deliver the benefits of this lease sale to as many California residents as possible, BOEM has included innovative lease stipulations and bidding credits that will expand our clean energy economy, provide good-paying jobs, and build out our nation’s offshore wind supply chain.  

graphic of a wind turbine with text that reads "American Energy American Jobs"​ with the BOEM logo on the bottom

These provisions include:

  • A 5% bidding credit to bidders who have executed or commit to executing a Lease Area Use Community Benefit Agreement (CBA) with one or more communities, stakeholder groups, or Tribal entities 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 5% bidding credit to bidders who have executed or commit to executing a General CBA with one or more communities, Tribes, or stakeholder groups that are expected to be affected by the potential impacts on the marine, coastal, or human environment (such as impacts on visual or cultural resources) from activities resulting from lease development that are not otherwise addressed by the Lease Area Use CBA.
  • A 20% bidding credit to bidders who commit to invest in programs that will advance U.S. floating offshore wind energy workforce training, supply chain development, or both.
  • A requirement that lessees make every reasonable effort to enter into Project Labor Agreements that cover the construction of any project proposed for their lease areas.
  • A requirement for lessees to provide semi-annual reports on their outreach and engagement and to make reasonable efforts to implement their projects in a manner that minimizes and mitigates their projects’ adverse community effects.

For More Information:  

During the lease sale, on December 6, BOEM will share round results online: https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/california  

BOEM will also provide live results and updates on BOEM’s Twitter account: Twitter @BOEM

For additional details on the lease sale and the California offshore wind energy activities, go to:  

Read more.