California’s Offshore Wind Lease Auction is Underway

EUREKA, CA. December 6, 2022

At 7am this morning the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) initiated the auction of five California offshore wind energy area leases, two in the Humboldt Wind Energy Area and three in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area.

Seven bidders are participating in the auction, with live results posted by BOEM at: https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/california

For a detailed accounting of the auction’s progress, try this: https://renews.biz/82293/boem-to-auction-california-offshore-wind-sites-today/

Federal offshore wind auctions can last multiple days, and BOEM will announce the names of the winning developers shortly after the auction closes.

Since 2016, Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) has been actively planning and coordinating with private developers and stakeholders including local, state, and federal government leaders, local Tribes and commercial fishermen to prepare for responsible offshore wind development that provides community benefits and minimizes impacts, in addition to making a meaningful contribution to local and state renewable energy objectives. RCEA’s RePower Humboldt strategic plan establishes the goal of generating 100% of the county’s electricity needs from local renewable sources by 2030, and offshore wind could play a central role in achieving that goal.

“After many years of planning, this is an exciting milestone in the process,” said Matthew Marshall, RCEA’s Executive Director. “RCEA’s primary interest is to see good projects move forward, and we are committed to working with the developers that secure leases to ensure  transparent and meaningful community engagement that puts our local interests and concerns front and center in the development process. The community benefits agreements and lease stipulations that BOEM will require of developers are a good starting point.”

The two Humboldt lease areas together encompass over 205 square miles and are 20-30 miles off the coast of Humboldt Bay. Combined with Morro Bay, the five California Wind Energy Area leases amount to approximately 528 square miles, which could potentially generate over 4.6 GW of offshore wind energy; enough to power more than 1.5 million homes. Due to our region’s grid transmission constraints, RCEA anticipates that the first phase of Humboldt development will be limited to around 150 MW and will primarily be for local consumption. New and upgraded transmission infrastructure is required to scale up to the full capacity that the Humboldt Wind Energy Area can accommodate and to export power to the state’s grid.

NOTE: While RCEA was listed on the list of eligible auction bidders, RCEA is not participating in the auction in any way.  RCEA’s inclusion on the list is a legacy of submitting an “unsolicited lease request” to BOEM in 2018, which required RCEA to qualify as an eligible entity.  BOEM subsequently absorbed RCEA’s proposed lease area into what is now the Humboldt Wind Energy Area.

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