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The US Department of the Interior has announced results from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s wind energy auction for five leases offshore California.
 
The sale drew competitive high bids from 5 companies totalling US$757.1 million. BOEM’s lease sale offered five lease areas covering 373,268 total acres off central and northern California. The leased areas have the potential to produce over 4.6GW of offshore wind energy.
 

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  

OCS-P 0565 

80,418 

$145,300,000 

 
The lease sale included a 20-percent credit for bidders who committed to a monetary contribution to programs or initiatives that support workforce training programs for the floating offshore wind industry, the development of a U.S. domestic supply chain for the floating offshore wind energy industry, or both. This credit will result in over $117 million in investments for these critical programs or initiatives.
 
The auction also included 5% credits for bidders who committed to entering community benefit agreements (CBAs). The first type of agreement is a Lease Area Use CBA with communities, stakeholder groups, or Tribal entities whose use of the lease areas or use of the resources harvested from the lease areas is expected to be impacted by offshore wind development. The second type of agreement is a General CBA with communities, Tribes, or stakeholder groups that are expected to be affected by the potential impacts on the marine, coastal or human environment from lease development.
 
Under stipulations in the leases, lessees are required to engage with Tribes, ocean users, and local communities that may be affected by their lease activities. Lessee engagement must allow for early and active information sharing, focused discussion of potential issues, and collaborative identification of solutions. These communication and engagement activities must be routinely reported to BOEM. These lease stipulations are intended to promote offshore wind energy development in a way that coexists with other ocean uses, addresses potential impacts and benefits, and protects the ocean environment, while also facilitating the US' energy future for generations to come.
 
The commercial lease gives the awardee the exclusive right to propose a project in the area and obtain federal review of its proposal. BOEM aims to permit 25 GW of offshore wind by 2025 to ensure the country’s goal of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030. BOEM has previously held 9 competitive lease sales for commercial wind energy leases off the Atlantic Coast and has laid out a plan to ensure the U.S. can grow the offshore wind sector. Oregon is expected to follow California with a lease auction as soon as the summer of 2024.
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