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US: 1st US floating offshore wind auction nets $757M in bids

Elvis Presley's Private Jet Up for Auction — at $840k — After Being Abandoned in New Mexico Desert

  Elvis Presley's Private Jet Up for Auction — at $840k — After Being Abandoned in New Mexico Desert The 1962 Lockheed 1329 Jetstar — which is being auctioned at a starting price of $840,000 — was purchased one year before Presley's 1977 deathElvis Presley's private jet can be yours — for the right price.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The first-ever U.S. auction of leases to develop commercial-scale floating wind farms in the deep waters off the West Coast attracted $757 million in winning bids Wednesday from mostly European companies, in a project watched by other regions and countries just getting their own plans for floating offshore wind started.

Hywind Scotland, the world's first commercial wind farm using floating wind turbines, is visible off the coast of Scotland in August 2017. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, marks the first-ever U.S. auction for leases to develop commercial-scale floating wind farms in the deep waters off the West Coast. (Woldcam/Equinor via AP) © Provided by The Associated Press Hywind Scotland, the world's first commercial wind farm using floating wind turbines, is visible off the coast of Scotland in August 2017. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, marks the first-ever U.S. auction for leases to develop commercial-scale floating wind farms in the deep waters off the West Coast. (Woldcam/Equinor via AP)

The auction featured five lease areas — two in northern California and three in central California — about 25 miles off the coast that have the potential to generate 4.5 gigawatts of energy, enough for 1.5 million homes. Combined, the lease areas cover 583 square miles (1,510 square kilometers) of Pacific Ocean.

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The winning bids came from Norway’s Equinor; California North Floating, part of Denmark’s Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners; Germany’s RWE AG, and Central California Offshore Wind, a part of the French and Portugese joint venture Ocean Winds. Invenergy was the only American company with a winning bid.

Offshore wind is well established in the U.K. and some other countries but is just beginning to ramp up off America’s coasts, and this is the nation’s first foray into floating wind turbines. U.S. auctions so far have been for those anchored to the seafloor.

The growth of offshore wind comes as climate change intensifies and need for clean energy grows. It also is getting cheaper. The cost of developing offshore wind has dropped 60% since 2010 according to a July report by the International Renewable Energy Agency. It declined 13% in 2021 alone.

Elvis Presley's private jet plane up for auction

  Elvis Presley's private jet plane up for auction A plane previously owned by Elvis Presley is up for auction after sitting for more than 35 years in a New Mexico "aircraft graveyard". The 1962 Lockheed 1329 Jetstar is one of three jets owned by the King of Rock and Roll when he purchased it for $840,000 in 1976, a year before he died. Tom Parker and the ever-present Memphis Mafia to venues, concerts and appearances all around the country. Elvis kept several pilots on retainer that were ready to fly him to adoring fans at a moment's notice." The jet also has a television, microwave, and restroom. The cockpit, along with the rest of the jet, has never been restored.

The auction netted less than the $4.37 billion generated by an offshore wind lease sale off the East Coast earlier this year, which was expected by at least one industry group. Those leases involved turbines fixed to the seafloor in shallower water.

Industry experts say the lower bids this week are likely due to the lack of maturity in the offshore wind market on the West Coast and the nascent technology involved in anchoring floating wind farms in deep ocean waters. Uncertainties about transmission infrastructure, siting and permitting also played a role, they said.

“I think there was an awareness of the stage that this is at and (California) is moving on the very things that have to be in place for this to develop,” said Adam Stern, executive director of Offshore Wind California, an industry trade group.

“New York and New Jersey and the East Coast in general are further along and California is going to benefit from that work that happens on the East Coast — and we may be able to catch up faster because of it."

Elvis Presley's private jet plane up for auction

  Elvis Presley's private jet plane up for auction A plane previously owned by Elvis Presley is up for auction after sitting for more than 35 years in a New Mexico "aircraft graveyard". The 1962 Lockheed 1329 Jetstar is one of three jets owned by the King of Rock and Roll when he purchased it for $840,000 in 1976, a year before he died. Tom Parker and the ever-present Memphis Mafia to venues, concerts and appearances all around the country. Elvis kept several pilots on retainer that were ready to fly him to adoring fans at a moment's notice." The jet also has a television, microwave, and restroom. The cockpit, along with the rest of the jet, has never been restored.

Many of the winning companies are already involved in traditional offshore wind off the East Coast of the U.S. and in floating wind farms overseas.

Equinor, which developed the world's first floating wind farm in 2017 in Scotland and is the largest U.S. offshore wind developer to date, bid of $130 million for a roughly 2-gigawatt lease off central California's Morro Bay. The lease area has the potential to generate enough energy to power about 750,000 homes, the company said.

Similar auctions are in the works off Oregon’s coast next year and in the Gulf of Maine in 2024.

President Joe Biden set a goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 using traditional fixed offshore technology, enough to power 10 million homes. Then the administration announced plans in September to develop floating platforms that could vastly expand offshore wind in the United States.

The nation’s first offshore wind farm opened off the coast of Rhode Island in late 2016, allowing residents of small Block Island to shut off five diesel generators. Wind advocates took notice, but with five turbines, it’s not commercial scale.

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AP reporter Jennifer McDermott in Providence, R.I. contributed to this report.

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Follow Gillian Flaccus on Twitter here.

Scholz inaugurates 1st liquefied gas terminal in Germany .
BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday inaugurated Germany's first liquefied natural gas terminal, declaring that the speed with which it was put into service is a signal that Europe's biggest economy will remain strong. The top three officials in the government — Scholz, Economy Minister Robert Habeck and Finance Minister Christian Lindner — attended the inauguration in the North Sea port of Wilhelmshaven in a sign of the importance that Germany attaches to several new LNG terminals that it is scrambling to build following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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