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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.