The Biden administration proposed offshore wind lease sales covering nearly 600 square miles off the California coast, the first ever for the Pacific region.
The Interior Department announced its proposed sale notice Thursday covering five separate leasing areas, which would make approximately 373,268 acres available for wind energy development. Together, the leases could provide more than 4.5 gigawatts of additional capacity — or enough to power over 1.5 million homes.
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Two of the proposed leasing areas cover the Humboldt Wind Energy Area in northern California near Eureka, and leases would also be sold on another three areas within the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area, near San Luis Obispo County in central California.
Amanda Lefton, the director of the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said the proposal "represents tangible progress towards achieving the Administration’s vision for a clean energy future offshore California, while creating a domestic supply chain and good-paying union jobs.”
The proposed sale notice includes numerous stipulations for lessees, including that they "make every reasonable effort to enter into a [project labor agreement] covering the construction stage of any project proposed for the lease areas" and establish goals for how they plan to contribute "to the creation of a robust and resilient U.S.-based offshore wind industry supply chain."
The public will have 60 days to weigh in on the requirements and the broader proposed sale once it's published in the Federal Register on Tuesday.
Developing offshore wind is one of the Biden administration's leading green energy priorities. It established a goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030.
BOEM has held 10 competitive lease sales to date, several of which have been carried out during Biden's tenure. The bureau awarded additional leases for acreage off the North and South Carolina coasts on May 11.
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Most of BOEM’s leasing activities have involved acreage in the Atlantic Ocean, but an Interior plan released in October expressed the department’s intention to hold potentially seven lease sales for offshore wind by 2025, including in the waters of Oregon and California.