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Winners of offshore Morro Bay wind energy leases announced

AB525 introduces more renewable energy in the form of wind developments.
Posted at 2:42 PM, Dec 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-07 22:25:59-05

Five companies were named the winners of the first-ever lease sale for offshore wind energy on the West Coast.

The auction, which was held Tuesday, included 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 high bids from the winning companies totaled $757.1 million.

The companies that won the three leases for the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area are Equinor Wind US LLC, Central California Offshore Wind LLC, and Invenergy California Offshore LLC.

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According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the lease sale included a 20 percent credit for bidders who committed to giving money to programs supporting workforce training, the development of a U.S. domestic supply chain for the floating offshore wind energy industry, or both.

BOEM says that credit will result in more than $117 million in investments for these programs.

The auction also included five percent credits for bidders who committed to entering community benefit agreements with communities, tribes, and stakeholder groups that would be affected by the offshore wind development.

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

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

REACH, an organization with a goal of increasing economic prosperity on the Central Coast, sent a letter to the winning companies Wednesday on behalf of 25 regional leaders, expressing their commitment to collaborating on the advancement of offshore wind energy locally.

“It’s so exciting for the Central Coast to be part of this historic step toward a cleaner energy future," said Melissa James, REACH President and CEO. "This is a transformative opportunity for our region and it’s fantastic to see broad-based, bipartisan support for thoughtfully welcoming this new industry into our community. We’re looking forward to working with the lease winners to create a bright energy, climate and economic future for our region, our state and our nation.”

Newly-elected State Assemblymember Dawn Addis, (D-Morro Bay) also released a statement Wednesday, saying, “Today’s auction results demonstrate that floating offshore wind on the West Coast is both absolutely necessary to address the climate crisis, and economically viable for the companies that won today’s bids. What happens next is critical. I look forward to working with our coastal communities to ensure the auction winners are true partners.”