Above: A visual simulation of the Morro Bay Offshore Wind Energy Call Area coastal area with offshore wind turbines installed as it would be seen from Point Piedras Blancas near San Simeon.
Guice Offshore, widely considered to be the U.S Flag leader in the operation of dynamically positioned mini-supply vessels and compact, cost-effective multi-purpose vessels for specialty markets such as offshore wind energy, is reminding prospective (those not previously qualified) bidders for the anticipated California offshore wind power lease sale to submit their mandatory qualification materials to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) postmarked no later than August 1, 2022.
Comments received by the end of the public comment period will be made available on the BOEM California webpage and considered before the BOEM decides whether to publish a final sale notice, which would then announce the time and date of the lease sale, as well as list the companies qualified to participate in it.
First-Ever California Offshore Wind Lease Sale Proposed
Proposed sale includes lease stipulations to prioritize workforce training, domestic supply chain development, community benefits and engagement
In yet another step forward in America’s pursuit of a clean energy economy during late May 2022, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced the next steps and welcomed public comment on offshore wind lease sales in two regions on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore California. Once finalized, these will be the first-ever offshore wind lease sales proposed on the nation’s west coast.
In May 2021, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl, and California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an agreement to advance areas for wind energy development offshore the northern and central coasts of California. The proposed sale is part of the leasing path announced last year by Secretary Haaland to meet the federal government’s goal to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030.
The Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) includes three proposed lease areas in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area off central California and two proposed lease areas in the Humboldt Wind Energy Area off northern California, totaling approximately 373,268 acres that have the potential to unlock over 4.5 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, power more than 1.5 million homes and support thousands of new jobs.
“BOEM is committed to robust stakeholder engagement and ensuring any offshore wind leasing is done in a manner that avoids or minimizes potential impacts to the ocean and ocean users. The Proposed Sale Notice provides another opportunity for local communities, Tribes, ocean users, developers and others to weigh in on potential wind energy activities offshore California,” Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Amanda Lefton said.
To date, BOEM has held 10 competitive lease sales and has issued 25 active commercial offshore wind leases in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to North Carolina. The California lease sale will be the first in the Pacific region.
The PSN, which was published in the Federal Register on May 31, 2022, opened a 60-day public comment period and provides detailed information about the proposed lease areas, proposed lease provisions and conditions, and auction details.
The BOEM is seeking feedback on several offshore wind lease stipulations that will reaffirm its commitment to create good-paying union jobs and engage with Tribal governments, underserved communities, ocean users, and other stakeholders. Some of these potential stipulations include:
- A 2.5% bidding credit to bidders who have executed or commit to executing a community benefit agreement with a community or ocean users (e.g., commercial fisheries) whose use of a lease area, or whose use of resources harvested from a lease area, is directly impacted by the lessee’s potential offshore wind energy development.
- A 20% bidding credit to bidders who commit to invest in programs that will advance U.S. offshore wind energy workforce training, supply chain development, or both.
- A requirement that lessees make every reasonable effort to enter into a project labor agreement covering the construction of any project proposed for the lease area.
- Requirements for lessees to engage with Tribes, underserved communities, ocean users, and agencies. Lessees will be required to report on their engagement and make reasonable efforts to implement their projects in a manner that minimizes and mitigates their projects’ adverse effects, if any, on these parties.
BOEM California Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force Meeting Recap
The fifth meeting of the BOEM California Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force was held on Friday, June 3rd, 2022. This half-day virtual meeting provided updates on offshore wind energy activities, information and discussion opportunities on the California Proposed Sale Notice, and next steps in the BOEM authorization process.
The BOEM California Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force (“Task Force”), established in 2016, reflects a partnership between federal, state, and local agencies, as well as Tribal governments. It serves as a forum to discuss issues and concerns; exchange data and information about biological and physical resources, ocean uses and priorities; and facilitate early and continual dialogue and collaboration opportunities.
Meeting materials (including a slide presentation) can be viewed below or here (video to be posted soon): https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/california-2022-task-force-meeting-five
On June 16, 2022, the BOEM held an auction seminar for prospective bidders and the public to learn about the auction format, explain the auction rules and demonstrate the auction process through meaningful examples.
To view the auction seminar agenda, click here.
The BOEM also has funded or considered numerous studies to collect information about the marine environment to support decisions concerning offshore renewable energy development. For more information, please visit https://www.boem.gov/environment/environmental-studies-pacific.
California Offshore Wind BOEM Outreach and Science Resources
Fact Sheet: BOEM Leasing Process
BOEM and the State of California are working together with stakeholders to identify and collect relevant data and information on existing ocean resources and uses to inform future decision-making for offshore wind leasing off California.
- CA Energy Commission Webinar: Workshop to Present Next Steps for Considering Offshore Wind Energy off the California Coast (2021)
- CA Offshore Wind Energy Planning and Outreach Summary Report Addendum (2021)
- CA Offshore Wind Energy Planning Outreach Summary Report (2018)
- California Energy Commission Docket: California Offshore Renewable Energy
- California Offshore Wind Energy Gateway / Data Basin
- Handout: Selected BOEM-Funded Research Informing Renewable Energy Offshore California
- Seabird and Marine Mammal Surveys Near Potential Renewable Energy Sites Offshore Central and Southern California
- Pacific Marine Assessment Partnership for Protected Species (PacMAPPS)
- Adrift: Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Cetaceans in the California Current Ecosystem Using Drifting Archival Passive Acoustic Monitoring
- Pacific Environmental Studies Program