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California offshore wind auction exceeds $757 million in bids

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Offshore wind farm.

davee hughes uk | time | Getty Images

The Biden administration on Wednesday announced more than $757 million in winning bids for its offshore wind development rights auction in California, marking the third offshore wind lease sale this year and the first ever for the Pacific region. .

The sale is a major step in the administration’s goal to build offshore wind turbines on the country’s coasts to help communities power communities and the transition to clean energy. The White House, as part of its broader climate change agenda, has pledged to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, enough to power 10 million homes.

This week’s auction will also invest in floating turbines, an emerging technology needed to provide electricity when coastal waters are too deep for standard turbines to be anchored to the ocean floor. This technology has so far been implemented in small-scale pilot projects in Europe.

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has auctioned off five lease areas that span approximately 373,268 acres off the California coast. The leases are located off the central coast in the Morro Bay area as well as off the northern coast of California in the Humboldt County area. Projects on those leases could generate electricity to power more than 1.5 million homes, the agency said.

“The sale of the California lease gives the United States a chance to lead the emerging floating wind sector,” said Erik Milito, president of the National Ocean Industries Association, an oil industry trade group. “Floating wind technology is in its infancy but it is cutting-edge technology that will lead to strong growth in the deployment of offshore wind.”

The winning bidders are California North Floating, RWE Offshore Wind Holdings, Central California Offshore Wind and Invenergy California Offshore.

“The Biden-Harris administration believes that to tackle the climate crisis head-on, we must spark a new era of clean, reliable energy that serves every American home,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said. in a press release.

“Today’s lease sale is further proof that the momentum in the industry – including for the development of floating offshore wind – is undeniable,” Haaland said.

The country’s offshore wind sector presents a $109 billion revenue opportunity over the next 10 years, according to a report by the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind, an independent project of the College of Earth, Ocean and Environment of the United States. ‘University of Delaware.

“Offshore wind is a critical part of meeting our global clean energy goals and this sale is a historic step in California’s march toward a fossil-free future,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement. .

Earlier this year, the federal government announced the $4.37 billion sale of six offshore wind leases off the coasts of New York and New Jersey. These leases are expected to produce up to 7 gigawatts of clean energy, enough to power nearly 2 million homes.

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