© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Gerenal view of wind turbines at the Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm, off the coast of the Guerande peninsula in western France, September 22, 2022. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/Pool/File Photo
(Reuters) – The first ever auction of offshore wind development rights off the coast of California entered its second day on Wednesday, with high bids topping $460 million.
The Biden administration’s sale is a major milestone in the its goal to put turbines along every U.S. coastline and a critical test of developer appetite for investment in floating wind turbines, an emerging technology necessary in locations where the ocean floor is too deep for fixed equipment.
The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is auctioning five lease areas equal to a combined 373,267 acres (151,056 hectares) off the state’s north and central coasts. Previous federal offshore wind auctions have all been for leases in shallower waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
After 22 rounds of bidding, high bids totaled a combined $462.1 million. Two leases off the central coast had commanded high bids of more than $100 million, with the remaining leases attracting high bids in a range of $62.7 million to $98.8 million, according to live auction results on the BOEM web site.
The identities of the bidders are not disclosed during the auction, but 43 companies had been approved to participate.
They include established offshore wind players like Avangrid (NYSE:) Inc, Orsted (OTC:) and Equinor, which are all developing projects on the U.S. East Coast, as well as potential new entrants including Swedish floating wind developer Hexicon and Macquarie unit Corio.