California Coastal Commission

California’s first upcoming offshore wind lease sale, scheduled for December 6, 2022, is the next major step forward for clean energy in the Golden State.

By Nikki Buffa, Jennifer K. Roy, Janice M. Schneider, Daniel P. Brunton, Nathaniel Glynn, and Brian McCall

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the State of California have taken significant steps to advance offshore wind development in the lead-up to BOEM’s upcoming auction for the first renewable energy lease sale in federal waters offshore California. The BOEM lease sale will involve a number of new facets not seen in other recent lease sales in New York and North Carolina, including revised bidding credits and lease stipulations. In anticipation of the lease sale, California is developing a permitting roadmap to streamline the state approvals process for any resulting offshore wind projects.

On the federal side, the Biden Administration is deploying significant resources and funding to boost development of floating offshore wind technologies that will be essential off the Pacific Coast. While BOEM’s upcoming lease sale and California’s actions to support offshore wind development represent an important moment for the offshore wind industry, many challenges remain to capture the full resource potential off California’s coast.

The action marks the clearance of another significant hurdle toward BOEM’s offshore wind lease sales in federal waters offshore California, anticipated to occur this fall.

By Nikki Buffa, Jennifer K. Roy, Janice M. Schneider, Brian McCall, and Julie Miles

In the first half of 2022, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has moved swiftly toward the first offshore wind lease sales in California, currently anticipated to occur in the fall. BOEM has identified a total of five proposed leases across two areas — the Humboldt Wind Energy Area (WEA) and the Morro Bay WEA. In April 2022, BOEM issued a Consistency Determination for the Morro Bay WEA — as required by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Federal Consistency Regulations — and, just last week, the California Coastal Commission (the Commission) conditionally concurred with this determination.