CALIFORNIA — US President Joe Biden's administration on Tuesday said it would hold the first sale of offshore wind development rights off the coast of California on Dec. 6, a big step forward in expanding the nascent US industry to Pacific waters, according to a recent Reuters report.
The announcement is the latest in a government push to put wind turbines along US coastlines, creating a new domestic jobs engine that is also designed to help wean the nation off fossil fuels and combat climate change.
The sale, which the Department of Interior (DOI) said it planned to hold before the end of this year, will include five lease areas that amount to 373,268 acres off the Golden State's northern and central coasts.
The large-scale projects that would be developed in the lease areas could one day generate more than 4.5 GW of energy and power 1.5 million homes, the department said in a statement.
These would also be the first commercial projects in US waters to use floating turbines, an emerging technology. The depth of the outer continental shelf in the Pacific precludes the use of standard, fixed equipment.
Previous federal offshore wind lease sales have all been for leases in the Atlantic Ocean.
By 2035, the DOI aims to have 15 GW of floating offshore wind capacity. The goal is aligned with the administration's other target for permitting 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030.
"The demand and momentum to build a clean energy future is undeniable," DOI Secretary Deb Haaland said in the department's statement.
She also said the department is "moving forward at the pace and scale required to help achieve the president's goals to make offshore wind energy, including floating offshore wind energy, a reality for the United States."
A formal sale notice will be published later this week, the department said, and will include details on the companies qualified to participate.
Other 2022 California wind updates
In late August, a Texas oil company agreed to plead guilty to criminal negligence charges and pay nearly $13 million for a crude oil spill that killed wildlife and fouled southern California beaches, federal prosecutors said on Friday.
In May, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) completed its environmental review of potential impacts from offshore wind energy leasing activities in the Humboldt Wind Energy Area 20 miles offshore northern California, and based on its analysis has issued a finding of no significant impact.
In April, BOEM released the draft Morro Bay Wind Energy Area (WEA) environmental assessment (EA) for public comment. The draft EA analyzed potential impacts from future commercial leasing and related site characterization and assessment activities within the Morro Bay WEA, which is located about 20 miles off the central California coastline.