California Activities

What's New?

On October 18, 2022, the Department of the Interior announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold an offshore wind energy lease sale on Dec. 6, 2022, for areas on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) off central and northern California.

The auction will be held online in a series of rounds beginning at 7:00 a.m. PST / 10:00 a.m. EST on Dec. 6, 2022 and will allow offshore wind developers to bid on five lease areas – the first-ever offered along the Pacific coastline – as described in BOEM’s Final Sale Notice (FSN).

BOEM will be providing round-by-round updates here at www.boem.gov/california throughout the auction. The provisional winners for each of the lease areas will be announced shortly after the auction ends.

Auction details, lease terms, and qualified bidding companies that can participate in the auction are outlined in the FSN published in the Federal Register.

Maps

California Proposed Sale Notice: The 60-day public comment period for the California Proposed Sale Notice closed on Monday, August 1, 2022. All comments submitted are part of the public record and are posted publicly without change. To view comments submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, please go to https://www.regulations.gov/ and enter BOEM-2022-0017 in the search bar. Click on docket Proposed Sale: Pacific Wind Lease Sale 1 for Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf in California. Comments submitted through traditional correspondence have been uploaded to the docket.

Press Release: Biden-Harris Administration Announces First-Ever Offshore Wind Lease Sale in the Pacific

Press Release: BOEM Completes Environmental Review of Offshore Wind Leasing in Central California

Press Release: Biden-Harris Administration Proposes First-Ever California Offshore Wind Lease Sale

Press Release: BOEM Completes National Environmental Policy Act Review of Offshore Wind Leasing in Northern California

California Wind Energy Areas (WEAs)

The Humboldt WEA and Morro Bay WEA are each subject to an environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act to consider the environmental consequences associated with issuing commercial wind leases and associated site characterization activities (i.e., biological, archeological, geological, and geophysical surveys and core samples) and site assessment activities (i.e., installation of meteorological buoys). For more information on the WEAs and environmental reviews, please follow the links below.

Public Engagement

BOEM continues to coordinate planning for potential offshore renewable energy leasing and development activities through the BOEM California Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, a partnership of members of state, local and federally-recognized Tribal governments and federal agencies. The task force serves as a forum to: discuss issues and concerns; exchange data and information about biological and physical resources, ocean uses and priorities; and facilitate early and continual dialogue and collaboration opportunities.

  • Public Information Meetings and Outreach Efforts
    • California Offshore Wind Energy Planning Outreach Summary Report (2018) and Addendum (2021): BOEM and the State of California continue to work together with the public, Tribal governments, and stakeholders to identify and collect relevant data and information on existing ocean resources and uses to inform decision-making for offshore wind leasing off California.

Environmental Studies

BOEM has funded or considered numerous studies to collect information about the marine environment to support decisions concerning offshore renewable energy development. For more information, please visit https://www.boem.gov/environment/environmental-studies-pacific.

Proposed Lease Sale

On May 26, 2022, the Department of the Interior announced proposed auction details and lease terms for offshore wind energy development in the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area and Humboldt Wind Energy Area, located offshore central and northern California, respectively. The California Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) which included a 60-day public comment period, provided detailed information about potential areas that could be available for leasing, proposed lease provisions and conditions, auction details (e.g., criteria for evaluating competing bids and award procedures), and lease execution.  The proposal included up to five lease areas within the two Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) off California for potential commercial wind energy development. The proposed lease areas in the Humboldt and Morro Bay WEAs consist of approximately 373,268 acres (583 square miles) and have the potential to unlock over 4.5 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, powering more than 1.5 million homes and supporting new jobs. 

Materials related to this announcement are below.

The comment period closed on August 1. To view comments submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, please go to https://www.regulations.gov/ and enter BOEM-2022-0017 in the search bar. Click on docket Proposed Sale: Pacific Wind Lease Sale 1 for Commercial Leasing for Wind Power on the Outer Continental Shelf in California. Comments submitted through traditional correspondence have been uploaded to the docket. Feedback received during the comment period informed BOEM’s development of a Final Sale Notice.

California Auction Seminar: BOEM held an auction seminar on June 16, 2022 for prospective bidders in the proposed Pacific Wind Lease Sale 1 (PACW-1) for commercial wind energy leases offshore California. The seminar was open to the public and described the auction format, explained the auction rules, and demonstrated the auction process through meaningful examples. Seminar materials and recorded videos can be viewed from this page: https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/california-auction-seminar

2021 Area Identification Memos

On November 12, 2021, BOEM announced the designation of the Morro Bay Wind Energy Area (WEA). The Morro Bay WEA is located approximately 20 miles offshore the central California coastline and contains approximately 240,898 acres (376 square miles). The analysis and rational used to develop the Morro Bay WEA are described in the Area Identification Memo for the Morro Bay WEA. As described in the Area Identification Memo, the Morro Bay WEA includes the 2021 Call West Extension and a portion of the 2018 Call Area, while omitting the 2021 Call East Extension. The full Area Identification Memo can be found here:

On July 28, 2021, BOEM announced the designation of the Humboldt Wind Energy Area (WEA). The Humboldt WEA is located approximately 20 miles offshore the Northern California coastline and contains 132,369 acres (206.8 square miles. The analysis and rational used to develop the Humboldt WEA are described in the Area Identification Memo for the Morro Bay WEA. The full Area Identification Memo can be found here: 

California Calls for Information and Nominations

On July 29, 2021, BOEM published the Morro Bay East and West Extensions – Call for Information and Nominations in the Federal Register, which initiated a 45-day public comment period. BOEM accepted industry nominations and public comments until September 13, 2021.
The Morro Bay Call Area East Extension and the Morro Bay Call Area West Extension offshore the central California coast consist of approximately 90,025 acres (141 square statute miles). 

On May 25, 2021, the Departments of the Interior and Defense and the state of California announced their agreement to advance areas for wind energy development offshore the northern and central coasts of California, enabling a path forward for the Humboldt Call Area and areas within and adjacent to the Morro Bay Call Area.

Below are documents related to the 2021 Call:

On October 19, 2018, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) published a Call for Information and Nominations (Call) to obtain nominations from companies interested in commercial wind energy leases within the proposed areas off central and northern California. In addition to nominations, BOEM sought public input on the potential for wind energy development in the Call Areas. This includes site conditions, resources, and multiple uses in close proximity to, or within, the Call Areas that would be relevant to BOEM’s review of any nominations submitted, as well as BOEM’s subsequent decision whether to offer all or part of the Call Areas for commercial wind leasing.

Below are documents related to the 2018 Call:

2018 Call Maps

GIS/Shape Files for Mapping 

On August 18, 2016, BOEM published a Request for Interest in California Offshore Wind in response to an unsolicited lease request.

Simulations of Potential Visual Impacts

California Visual Simulations - In response to stakeholder interest regarding visual impacts from potential future renewable energy development within the California Wind Energy Areas, BOEM undertook a project to develop daytime and nighttime photomontages to simulate what turbines might look like if these lease areas were fully developed.

Resources

California related news releases and Notes to Stakeholders can be found in the BOEM Newsroom.  In the search bar, type the name of the state and/or select year of announcement.