Energy & Environment

Biden administration announces first Pacific offshore wind lease sale

FILE - Offshore wind turbines stand near Block Island, R.I. on Aug. 15, 2016.
FILE – Offshore wind turbines stand near Block Island, R.I., on Aug. 15, 2016.

The Interior Department on Tuesday announced the first offshore wind lease sale off the west coast of the U.S., set for Dec. 6 off the coast of California.

The sale will incorporate five lease areas with a total of 4.5 gigawatts of wind energy, the department said in an announcement Tuesday morning. Three of the areas are off the central cost of California, while two are off the state’s northern coast.

“Today’s announcement represents years of close coordination and engagement with the state of California, Tribes, ocean users, local communities and all interested parties to move us closer towards achieving the administration’s vision to fight climate change and realizing California’s clean energy future, while creating a domestic supply chain and good-paying union jobs,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Amanda Lefton said in a statement.

“BOEM remains committed to ensuring transparency and active engagement with stakeholders throughout the post-leasing process.”

Liz Burdock, president and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, said in a statement that the U.S. must also make investments in other sectors to take full advantage of the deployment.

“The U.S. must move with urgency to capture this rare economic opportunity by freeing up critical support for port and transmission investments, and do the hard work to identify and build an American supply chain that will anchor the U.S. as a global industry leader,” Burdock said.

The Biden administration has set a broader goal of 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by the end of the decade, with a plan to eventually install wind power up and down the east, west and Gulf coasts.

In August, California’s state energy commission adopted the most ambitious offshore wind goals in the nation, setting a target of 3 to 5 gigawatts deployed by 2030. The state goal also involves the deployment of 25 gigawatts by 2045. A detailed plan is due to the state legislature by next June.

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