European firms win most leases in California offshore wind auction

The sale of offshore wind development rights off the coast of California generated $757.1m in high bids, mainly from European developers.

Winners of the five leases were primarily divisions of European energy companies that have already started developing projects in the US offshore wind market.

The winners included Norway’s Equinor ASA, Denmark’s Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, Germany’s RWE AG, Ocean Winds, which is a joint venture between France’s Engie and Portugal’s EDP Renewables, and US developer Invenergy LLC.

The auction began on Tuesday, but had to go into recess later that day, resuming on Wednesday.

The lease sale represented the third major offshore wind lease sale this year and the first for the Pacific region. The bids well exceeded the first lease sales that were held in the Atlantic, with the former being closer to shore.

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  also submitted a winning bid.

The Business Network for Offshore Wind called the auction “an important milestone toward meeting both the Biden Administration’s goal of deploying 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 15 GW of floating offshore wind by 2035 as well as California’s goal of 25 GW by 2045—the most aggressive state goal to-date. With today’s completed lease sale, which also raised tens of millions allocated for floating supply chain development, the U.S. will have a premier opportunity to develop a robust floating wind turbine supply chain that can compete on the global stage.”