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Biden administration's climate change agenda raises $750 Million

For Offshore Wind Auction in the US Pacific

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DoI) revealed the results of the first-ever sale of offshore wind leases for the Pacific region on Wednesday. Five companies placed winning bids totaling more than $757 million for leases off the coast of California.

RWE, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, Equinor, Invenergy, and a joint venture between Ocean Winds and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board were the successful bidders in the auction.

The decision represents a major milestone in the Biden administration's efforts to expand the deployment of renewable energy, a crucial component of its climate change agenda. In an effort to pave the way for 110 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2050, President Biden announced goals to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind power by 2030 and 15 GW of floating offshore wind capacity by 2035.

Secretary of the Department of the Interior Deb Haaland stated:

"According to the Biden-Harris administration, in order to confront the climate catastrophe head-on, we must usher in a new era of clean, reliable energy for every American household. Today's lease sale is another evidence of the industry's momentum, which includes floating offshore wind construction.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) held a lease sale that encompassed over 370,000 acres off the coasts of central and northern California, with the potential to generate over 4.6 GW of offshore wind energy, enough to power over 1.5 million households.

Due to the ocean depth off the coast of California, all leasing areas necessitate the employment of commercial-scale floating technology. While the majority of offshore wind installations to far have been concentrated in shallow water, floating offshore wind provides access to sites at vast depths or further from the coasts, capitalizing on places with greater wind energy potential.

President of Equinor Wind US, Molly Morris, stated:

"Offshore wind on California's west coast might contribute to the state's clean energy targets, boost renewable energy sources, and generate new employment and investments. The United States is a crucial market for Equinor's offshore wind activities and a market in which we hope to be a leader in the expansion of this new energy industry."

For RWE, the lease represents its first-ever floating wind farm on a commercial scale. CEO of Offshore Wind of RWE Renewables, Sven Utermohlen, stated:

"Our goal is to create RWE as a major participant in offshore wind in the United States, one of the most important strategic areas for expanding our portfolio. We will utilize our knowledge and experience with floating wind turbines in California and continue to grow the market for future projects."

The lease sale featured a 20% credit for bidders who contributed to programs supporting workforce training for the floating offshore wind industry or the establishment of a domestic supply chain for floating offshore wind energy in the United States. According to the Department of the Interior, the credit will result in investments of over $117 million for these programs or initiatives.

Director of BOEM Amanda Lefton stated:

"This auction commits major investment to assist economic growth through the development of floating offshore wind energy, including the associated jobs. These credits and lease stipulations indicate BOEM's commitment to growing the offshore wind business in a responsible manner to meet our offshore wind goals."

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