Roughly 78% of federal land auctioned by the Biden administration for offshore wind developments along California’s coast went to five large foreign energy companies.
Equinor, a Norwegian energy giant, purchased more than 80,062 acres of leased land for $130 million while Central California Offshore Wind LLC, a joint venture between France’s Engie and Portuguese company EDP Renewables, bought 80,418 acres for $150 million, according to a Wednesday Interior Department press release. California North Floating LLC, a subsidiary of Denmark’s Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners spent nearly $174 million purchasing 69,031 acres of land for wind power development and RWE Offshore Wind Holdings, a German company, bought 63,338 acres, spending almost $158 million.
In total, the Interior Department leased 292,850 out of a possible 373,268 acres (78%) of federal waters to European firms for wind turbine construction. Invenergy California Offshore LLC, a division of the Chicago-based renewable developer Invenergy LLC, was the only U.S. company among the five competitors to secure a lease.
During February’s record-setting offshore wind auction, only one American company, Invenergy Wind Offshore LLC, was featured among several European-owned companies that held winning bids. The foreign-owned companies, which leased more than 84% of the auctioned land, are subsidiaries of large European energy firms or represent joint ventures between foreign businesses such as Shell and TotalEnergies.
The offshore wind projects resulting from the lease sales could produce 4.6 gigawatts of wind power, which is enough to electrify more than 1.5 million homes, according to the department’s press release.