The first offshore wind lease auction off the California coast has come to a close and the winners of the leases have been announced.
The U.S. Department of the Interior announced the two leases in the Humboldt wind energy area, 21 miles off the coast of Humboldt Bay, were awarded to RWE Offshore Wind Holdings — 63,338 acres for $157.7 million — and California North Floating — 69,031 for $173.8 million — just before noon on Wednesday.
The five leases, including three roughly 80,000-acre apiece leases off Morro Bay, garnered $757.1 million for 373,268 acres capable of generating 4.6 gigawatts of energy, or enough power for 1.5 million homes. The winning bids off the coast of Morro Bay were from Equinor Wind US ($130 million), Central California Offshore Wind ($150.3 million), and Invenergy California Offshore ($145.3 million).
The lease sale is a significant milestone in meeting the state and nation’s goals to address the climate crisis. Wind energy is expected to complement solar energy, which is plentiful during the day while wind speeds are stronger when the sun goes down.
Humboldt County doesn’t have the transmission infrastructure in place to develop a large offshore wind farm right away, so developers are expected to start with a smaller community-scale project. 
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