First-Ever U.S. Floating Offshore Wind Auction to Be Held Today

The first commercial offshore wind farm in the U.S. near Block Island, Rhode Island
The first commercial offshore wind farm in the U.S. near Block Island, Rhode Island on July 7, 2022. John Moore / Getty Images
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The Biden administration will hold the nation’s first-ever lease auction for commercial-scale floating wind energy leases today.

The five deep-water lease tracts in two areas about 25 miles off the California coast have the potential to generate 4.5 GW of electricity, enough to power 1.5 million homes. Global interest in the lease sales is strong with 43 companies approved to bid.

The cost of offshore wind has fallen in recent years and floating offshore wind, though new to the U.S., has been deployed in Europe. The Biden administration has set goals of 15 GW of floating OSW capacity by 2035.

Wind turbines in the Irish Sea at the Gwynt y Mor Offshore Wind Farm, off the coast of Colwyn Bay, north Wales on March 16, 2018. PAUL ELLIS / AFP via Getty Images

As reported by CalMatters:

“There’s a lot of opportunities, but there’s also some challenges,” said Habib Dagher, executive director of the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, who is helping develop the first offshore floating wind turbines in the U.S.

“California has deeper waters than any other areas with these floating turbines so far in the world,” he said. “How do you protect the environment, protect local stakeholders, protect the fisheries, protect indigenous communities, while also speeding up permitting so we make a difference with global climate change?” 

Unlike current offshore wind turbines fixed to the ocean floor off the East Coast, California’s first-of-its-kind turbines would float on platforms anchored by cables in waters reaching about half a mile deep.

For a deeper dive:

AP, Forbes, CalMatters

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