The proposal would auction off almost 375,000 acres of the Outer Continental Shelf offshore California for wind energy development.

By Nikki Buffa, Janice M. Schneider, Nathaniel Glynn, and Brian McCall

On May 31, 2022, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) published a Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) for a pair of renewable energy lease sales offshore California. The PSN — which is the third offshore wind auction under the Biden-Harris Administration — represents a major inflection point in the complex and sometimes contentious process to bring wind power to the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) offshore California. The timing of the PSN also dovetails with the California Energy Commission’s May 2022 announcement of the nation’s most ambitious target for offshore wind development: the state is seeking to construct 3 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2030, with the potential for 10 to 15 gigawatts by 2045.

The PSN kicks off a 60-day public comment period ending on August 1, 2022, providing the last opportunity for interested parties to shape the California lease sales. Prospective bidders who are not already qualified to take part in the lease sale must submit their materials during this comment period in order to qualify to participate. The lease sales are expected to be held later this year.

Latham & Watkins has published a Client Alert that discusses four key aspects of the proposed California lease sales that potential bidders will need to consider, including:

  1. BOEM’s novel decision to hold simultaneous lease sales for the first time and the potential future restrictions in the lease areas
  2. New twists on BOEM’s use of multi-factor bidding in the California sales and how bidders may qualify for BOEM’s proposed bidding credits
  3. Proposed revisions to BOEM’s “affiliated entity” disclosure standards
  4. BOEM’s proposed lease stipulations for the California lease areas, which will significantly shape how development progresses offshore California

Read the Client Alert