WASHINGTON D.C.: Proceeds from the US government's first sale of offshore wind development rights off the California coast has reached $757.1 million.
The bids have come mainly from European companies aiming to gain a share of the US wind-power industry's expansion in the Pacific Ocean.
Beginning on December 6 and ending on December 7, the auction was a milestone in the global expansion of floating wind power, a fledgling technology used in deep waters, such as those off the California coast.
In a statement, US Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said, "Today's lease sale is further proof that industry momentum, including for floating offshore wind development, is undeniable."
The Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) auctioned five lease areas off California's north and central coasts, measuring a combined 373,267 acres.
Winners of the five leases were mainly divisions of European energy companies already developing projects in the US offshore wind market, such as Norway's Equinor ASA, Denmark's Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Germany's RWE AG, Ocean Winds.
The lease price of $2,028 per acre was below what was paid earlier this year for leases in shallower waters off the coasts of New York and New Jersey, at nearly $9,000 per acre, and lower than the $2,861 per acre leases off the coast of North Carolina, seen at a May auction.
The reason for the lower prices is partly due to the risks facing developers related to deploying an emerging technology and less regulatory support.
Globally, some 100 megawatts of floating wind capacity is currently installed, compared with 50 gigawatts (GW) for conventional offshore wind generation.