California offshore wind lease sale targeted for mid-2022

May 26, 2021
The US Department of Interior has identified the Morro Bay and Humboldt as potential wind energy areas offshore California.

Offshore staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The US Interior and Defense departments and the State of California have agreed to accelerate wind energy offshore central and northern California.

The Department of the Interior (DOI), in cooperation with the Department of Defense and the State of California, has identified an area (the Morro Bay 399 Area) that will support 3 GW of offshore wind on roughly 399 sq mi (1,033 sq km) off central California, northwest of Morro Bay. It is also advancing Humboldt as a potential wind energy area offshore northern California.

According to DOI, these initial areas for offshore wind development could bring up to 4.6 GW of energy to the grid, enough to power 1.6 million homes.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), in partnership with California, will hold an intergovernmental renewable energy task force meeting on June 24 to discuss the potential WEAs. Following the task force meeting, the WEAs can be finalized and will undergo environmental analysis. BOEM will also undertake government-to-government tribal consultation. The processes for the northern and central coasts will then be merged in a proposed sale notice for one lease sale auction, targeted for mid-2022.

According to National Ocean Industries Association President Erik Milito, California offshore wind will accelerate American wind leadership.

“A successful American offshore wind future has to include California. The nation’s most populous state is now on a path towards tapping a generational energy and economic opportunity. Opening the door to development offshore California will prime the Pacific Coast to be another American offshore wind hub and economic driver and will enhance American wind leadership,” Milito said.

“Importantly, Wood Mackenzie previously found that one lease sale offshore California could support 38,100 jobs per year, $3.5 billion in annual wages and $44.2 billion in total capital investment. As new investments, new technologies, and new call areas come to fruition, the sky is the limit as to what American offshore wind can achieve.”