Enthusiastic bidding for US west coast offshore wind leases

Bidding commenced enthusiastically on December 6th for the first US offshore wind energy leases on the Pacific Coast, reported the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which is overseeing the online auction.

After 20 rounds, the auction was recessed until December 7th.

Five leases in total are being offered, two off Northern California and three off Central California. The Humboldt area, located off the coast of Northern California near Eureka, consists of two areas, one over 63,000 acres and the other over 69,000 acres. Meanwhile, the Morro Bay area in Southern California consists of three leases, each of which is over 80,000 acres. The Department of Interior has said that the five leases could yield power for 1.5 million homes.

Before the auction began BOEM reported that 43 organizational had qualified to take part in the bidding.

The list includes companies already developing US East Coast wind farms, including Avangrid, Equinor, and Orsted, as well as smaller developers from California.

Bidding began with an opening round with individual bids for each of the leases between approximately $6m and $8m. Bidding was recessed after round 20, with the total having risen more than 10-fold to above $402m. Three of the leases were approaching the figure of $1m per acre, while one in each of the areas is currently around $1.2m per acre.

Unlike the East Coast leases, which have been for projects closer to shore with shallower positions, the California properties are at greater depth. They are likely to be among the first large commercial wind farms to deploy floating wind technologies.