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Bidding underway for wind energy leases off coast of Morro Bay

AB525 introduces more renewable energy in the form of wind developments.
Posted at 4:35 PM, Dec 06, 2022

Bidding started Tuesday on the first-ever lease sale for offshore wind energy on the West Coast.

The auction includes three leases off the north coast of San Luis Obispo County known as the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area, and two leases off the coast of Eureka known as the Humboldt Wind Energy Area.

The three leases in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area are a little more than 80,000 acres each. The Humboldt Wind Energy Area leases are less than 70,000 acres each.

It's expected the five areas together will generate enough electricity to power more than 1.5 million homes.

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President Joe Biden has set a goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030.

"Offshore wind is a critical component to achieving our world-leading clean energy goals and this sale is an historic step on California's march toward a future free of fossil fuels," Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement on Tuesday. "Together with leadership from the Biden-Harris Administration, we're entering a new era of climate action and solutions that give our planet a new lease on life."

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is handling the lease auction. It identified 43 companies qualified to bid on the leases.

The bidding opened up at 7 a.m. Pacific with a new round of bidding for each of the five lease areas approximately every 20 minutes.

It was closed at 2:20 p.m. after 20 rounds, but BOEM says bidding will resume at 7 a.m. on Wednesday. It could continue for a couple of days.

The last bids Tuesday for the three Morro Bay Wind Energy Area leases were $85 million, $100.3 million, and $75.3 million respectively.

BOEM will announce the winners of the lease sale once the auction ends.

Round-by-round auction updates are available on the BOEM website.