Applications for Offshore Wind Energy Development in State Waters

Nov 17, 2022 | Renewable Energy

The Commission is processing two applications for floating offshore wind projects in state waters (see Figure 1. below) offshore of Vandenberg Space Force Base (formerly Vandenberg Air Force Base). The project applicants are BW-IDEOL (formerly IDEOL USA Inc.) and CADEMO Corporation (formerly Cierco). Both applications are for the construction, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of floating offshore wind electrical generation. A summary of each application is included in the expanding sections below. Both applications will have to go through a comprehensive environmental impact review process pursuant to CEQA before staff brings any application to the Commission for consideration of a lease. A comparison of the main features of the two projects can be found in this table.

The Commission is in the initial stages of preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the CADEMO project. See the Commission’s California Environmental Quality Act Documents webpage for more information. The Commission will pursue a separate EIR for the BW-IDEOL project at a later time.

Compilation plat Cierco & Ideol turbines Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara County NOTES 1) the lease area shown hereon are preliminary and are for discussion purposes only. NOTES 2) this preliminary plat does not represent a thorough analysis based on a field survey of any of the boundaries or other lines shown. It also does not constitute a complete search of all available records. It is to be used as an approximate graphical representation of record lines. A thorough and complete survey may place these lines and associated point at different locations. 3) this plat has not been approved by the State Lands Commission and does not constitute an official plat of such commission, nor does it establish the boundary lines or limitations of any state-owned lands depicted thereon. This plat constitutes a preliminary staff-use-only plat not intended for public use/consumption and is subject to change.

Figure 1. Compilation plat CADEMO & BW-IDEOL turbines Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara County. View larger image.

  Offshore Wind Applications

Application Comparison Table

Topic CADEMO Offshore Wind Demonstration Project BW-IDEOL Vandenberg Space Force Base Pilot Project
Applicant CADEMO Corporation BW-IDEOL
Application submitted  August 21, 2019 July 26, 2019
Scope Demonstrate two different floating wind base technologies by installing four 12-15 MW floating wind turbines in the area Install four floating offshore wind turbines with maximum generation capacity of 10MW each
Turbine coordinates


Turbine Latitude Longitude
1 (T1) 34.59061535 -120.70016552
2 (T2) 34.58022300 -120.70154258
3 (T3) 34.56964036 -120.70131307
4 (T4) 34.56000143 -120.69878845


Turbine Latitude Longitude
1 (T1) 34.625297 -120.678427
2 (T2) 34.609528 -120.678866
3 (T3) 34.593760 -120.679305
4 (T4) 34.599083 -120.695705
Offshore cables Export cables will transmit electricity from the southernmost turbine (T4) to an onshore connection point. The preferred option for the CADEMO Project is to take the export cables to a landing point west of the boat dock (just south of Point Arguello) and then connected overland (by wood pole) to the grid substation A static part exporting electricity to the shore and a dynamic part called “Inter-Array cable” (IAC), connecting the static part to each floating wind turbine
Onshore It is anticipated that the onshore substation and control building will be located near to the point of cable landfall (by the directional drill site) on VSFB. All required works are standard electricity network works (i.e. the same for any other conventional electrical connections) with existing facilities utilized where possible An electrical substation would transform the electricity to the interconnection voltage of 138 kV. The Project substation would either be onshore or installed on one of the FWT structures
Application status Complete on July 21, 2020 Complete on January 12, 2021

CADEMO Demonstration Project

Applicant: CADEMO Corporation

Application submitted:  August 21, 2019

Application status: Complete on July 21, 2020

Scope: Demonstrate two different floating wind base technologies by installing four 12-15 MW floating wind turbines in the area

Next steps: Proceed with EIR

Illustrated map showing the California state lands boundary, turbine locations, HDD Exit Point, HDD Buried Cable, HDD entry point, Offshore Buried cable route, marine protected area, surf substration, onshore cable route, and CADEMO requested lease area.

CADEMO Project Layout. Santa Barbara County. View larger image.

CADEMO Corporation is a renewable energy development company based in Palm Springs, California that has floating wind project activities in the United Kingdom. In August 2019, CADEMO applied to the Commission for a lease to develop an offshore wind demonstration project in state waters west of VSFB in Lompoc, Santa Barbara County, California. The CADEMO project would consist of the installation and operation of four floating offshore wind turbines that would be moored to the seafloor, the nearest of which will be 2.5 nautical miles from shore. Each turbine will be capable of producing 12–15 megawatts (MW) of renewable electricity, and a maximum of 60 MW could be generated from the four turbines. The four wind turbines would be connected in a series with inter-array cables, and a subsea export cable would be installed under the seafloor from the most southern turbine to an onshore cable landing site located south of Point Arguello within VSFB. An HDPE cable duct would be installed at the cable landing site using a horizontal directional drilling method. The export cable would eventually be pulled in through the duct from offshore to onshore and connected to a new onshore substation within VSFB. An onshore overhead power line would be installed from the new substation to the existing Substation N and would continue north to the existing Surf Substation.

The proposal is intended to be a demonstration project and therefore, focuses on testing existing engineering concepts for the floating foundations of the wind turbines. Each turbine will be supported by a platform base floating beneath the surface, which is more feasible than fixed-bottom foundations off the coast of California due to the deeper west coast nearshore waters. The floating turbine substructures have mooring systems that anchor them to the seabed. The CADEMO demonstration project will test the barge and tension leg platform technologies.

CADEMOhas committed to establish a fund for the full decommissioning of the project’s infrastructure and onshore overhead power lines at the end of the demonstration period. Construction of the wind turbines and floating platforms is expected to occur at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of San Francisco. Construction staging of work vessels, equipment, and building materials will also occur at these ports.

BW-IDEOL Vandenberg Space Force Base Pilot Project

Applicant: BW-IDEOL

Application submitted: July 26, 2019

Application status: Complete on January 12, 2021

Scope: Install four floating offshore wind turbines with a maximum generation capacity of 10MW each

Next steps: Proceed with EIR

Illustrated map showing Lease area corners, Lease area boundaries, Federal/state water limit, FWT footprint, Irene pipelines route, Irene export cable route, Cable anchor, Alternative 1 cable route proposal Mooring line pattern, Inter-array cable, Road, River, Vandenberg state marine reserve, Height restriction zone, Lease area, and the Line route from the new substation.

BW-IDEOL Proposed Project. View larger image.

BW-IDEOL (IDEOL) is a renewable energy development company specializing in floating offshore wind technology and based in San Francisco, California. Since 2010, IDEOL has been involved in engineering floating foundations in France for offshore wind and, in July 2019, IDEOL applied for a lease to develop an offshore wind pilot project in California state waters near the Lompoc coast and VSFB. The project would involve the construction, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of a floating offshore wind electrical generation pilot project consisting of up to four 10-megawatt (MW) floating wind turbines capable of generating up to 40 MW of renewable energy. This energy will be available to serve the VSFB and other California customers. The total lease area IDEOL is requesting for the floating turbines is approximately 5.2 square miles.

The system components would consist of floating foundations, mooring lines, turbine structures, inter-array electrical cabling, a submarine electrical delivery cable, and one substation. Each turbine would be supported by a floating foundation, in this case, a semi-submersible concrete barge, which in turn will be moored to the seabed. An inter-array electrical cable will interconnect the four floating wind turbines. A subsea export cable would be installed under the seafloor from the most southern turbine to an onshore cable landing site located south of Point Arguello. A landing pipe would be installed at the cable landing site using a Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) method. The export cable would be pulled in through the landing pipe from offshore to onshore and would connect to a new onshore electrical substation within VSFB. An onshore overhead power line would be installed from the new substation to the existing Substation N. IDEOL is proposing a second alternative for using the existing submarine cable from Platform Irene to the onshore Surf Substation.

IDEOL has researched all California harbors and port infrastructure to select an appropriate construction site for the construction and assembly of the floating wind turbines and platforms, and has identified Port Hueneme as their preferred port location.

Construction activities at the selected port would require coordination with port authorities and may be subject to additional authorization and CEQA analysis.

If a lease is issued and the project proves successful, IDEOL may seek to extend the lease and repower the project at the end of the lease term, however at the end of any final lease term everything would be decommissioned, removed from the site, and repurposed or recycled. Repurposing the floating turbines and foundations would involve transport via vessel towing. Recycling the floating turbines would occur in port facilities.

Outreach & Environmental Review Process

Staff has determined that using a combination of an “early public consultation” scoping approach with some preliminary project analysis is the best approach to the environmental review for these two projects. This preliminary environmental assessment is intended to provide preliminary insight on affected resources to help guide early public input on the Notice of Preparation (NOP) and scoping process, which is a precursor to preparing an EIR. Considering the extensive resource requirements of the EIR process, this expanded scoping and public outreach approach will help the Commission develop the appropriate project scope and analysis, and generate ideas for project alternatives, which will increase transparency and public participation as compared to a typical CEQA EIR process.

This approach will help with all the following components:

  • Gain early awareness and participation with the upcoming EIR process with key stakeholders and the public
  • Advancing the discussion of the policy/science/impacts/benefits of the projects
  • Enhancing transparency
  • Education about the project specifics and resource impacts for stakeholders and decision-makers
  • Gain additional information from early public input to provide a more informed NOP scoping process and maximize a greater range of public input for the preparation of an EIR

Sequence of Commission Process for Environmental Review

  • Initiate Tribal Outreach and Consultation: Consistent with AB 52 and our Tribal Consultation Policy, staff will initiate tribal outreach using the list of culturally-affiliated Tribes from the Native American Heritage Commission, and initiate government to government consultation with Tribes who have requested notification. Tribal outreach will occur concurrently with the early public consultation / scoping process.
  • Environmental Justice: Consistent with our Environmental Justice Policy, staff will prepare an Environmental Justice Checklist and initiate outreach to environmental justice communities and organizations. This outreach will occur concurrently with the early public consultation / scoping process.
  • Early Public Consultation and Scoping Document: Staff will prepare the early public consultation and scoping document, along with a preliminary assessment of environmental impact considerations. This effort will be guided by the Appendix G Environmental Checklist of the CEQA guidelines.
  • Commission Approval for Statement of Interest for Environmental Consultant and NOP: Staff will seek the services of an environmental consultant to assist with the preparation of an EIR by requesting that the Commission authorize staff to advertise and then execute a contract for those services with a qualified bidder. Staff will also prepare the NOP that will be circulated for 30 days for agency and public review and hold a public meeting during the comment period.
  • Draft EIR: Staff, along with the environmental consultant team, will prepare a Draft EIR that will be circulated for a minimum 60-day public comment period. Staff will hold at least one public meeting to receive comments on the Draft EIR.
  • Final EIR: After the circulation of the Draft EIR, staff will prepare a Final EIR that will include responses to comments. The Final EIR will be prepared and circulated at least 30 days before the Commission considers whether to certify the Final EIR and act on a project at a public meeting.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Why is offshore wind important in California?

    The Commission intends to be a leader in California’s transition to a clean energy future. As such, the Commission looks forward to working in partnership to figure out the best path forward to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, taking action to combat climate change, and ensuring that our environment and economy can thrive together through a thoughtful, comprehensive, and just transition. Meeting California’s climate goals (SB 32, 2016 and SB 100, 2018) requires focused action to quickly transform the state’s energy system away from fuels that generate greenhouse gases. California needs to commit to the development of energy storage and a diverse range of renewable energy, including offshore wind. A recently updated study by National Renewable Energy Laboratory indicates that areas off the West Coast have strong potential for generating large amounts of energy. That study also found that the hours when offshore wind energy would be generated most complement those of solar power in California and can play a major role in helping California meets its renewable energy goals. Given the depth of the ocean along the California coast, floating offshore wind is the most suitable technology to harness this resource.

    The Public Trust Doctrine provides that tide and submerged lands and the beds of lakes, streams, and other navigable waterways, are to be held in trust by the state for the benefit of the people of California. The Commission is dedicated to safeguarding and promoting the public’s access rights to waterways and the coastline.

  • What is the CEQA Process?

    The Commission is the lead agency for CEQA and will prepare EIRs for the CADEMO and BW-IDEOL wind demonstration projects. Staff will develop a separate early consultation and scoping document for both projects that will include a preliminary environmental assessment of affected resources. Staff will route a notice through the State Clearinghouse and the public will have 30-days (or potentially longer) to provide public comment on this document. Then, staff will prepare a staff report and the Commission will consider, at a public meeting, whether to hire an environmental consultant to prepare an EIR. If the Commission approves, staff will prepare a Notice of Preparation (NOP) to solicit further public input on the information gathered during the previous scoping and consultation process. Staff will route the NOP through the State Clearinghouse, provide a minimum 30-day public comment period, and convene a public meeting to gather comments for the EIR. Staff will then prepare a draft EIR that will include a minimum 60-day public comment period. Staff will also convene a public meeting to gather comments on the draft EIR. The last step is for the Commission to hold a public meeting to consider whether to certify the final EIR.

  • How is this different than the BOEM call area process?

    Staff is evaluating two applications for floating offshore wind projects in state waters near Vandenberg Air Force Base. These applications are completely independent of the activities within federal waters, which are managed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

    In October 2018, BOEM published a Call for Information and Nominations to obtain proposals from companies interested in commercial wind energy leases within certain offshore areas off Central and Northern California. There are three call areas. One is in Northern California (Humboldt Call area) and two are in Central California (Morro Bay and Diablo Canyon call areas). BOEM works closely with states regarding offshore energy development and coordinates federal-state task forces. One way that BOEM coordinates planning for potential offshore renewable energy leasing is through the BOEM California Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, a partnership of state, local, and federally recognized tribal governments and federal agencies. The task force serves as a forum to discuss stakeholder issues and concerns; exchange data and information about biological and physical resources, ocean uses and priorities; and facilitate early and continual dialogue and collaboration opportunities.

  • Why is State Lands involved in this process?

    The Commission is involved because it owns and manages the submerged public lands in California, extending from the mean high-tide line out to 3 nautical miles from shore and because it has received the two applications. Any offshore renewable energy project involving state waters under the Commission’s jurisdiction requires a lease from the Commission.

  • What other agencies need to issue permits for offshore renewable energy projects?
    • Department of Defense (DOD)
    • U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE)
    • Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB)
    • U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
    • NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
    • Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)
    • Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)
    • California Coastal Commission (CCC)
    • Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB)
    • California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)
    • California Office of Historic Preservation (SHPO)
    • California Coast Guard
    • California Department of Fish and Wildlife
    • County of Santa Barbara
  • What does a Complete and Incomplete application mean?

    An application is complete when the applicant has provided sufficient information to allow staff to locate and describe the nature and extent of the state land or resource, determine fair rental value, identify the level and scope of CEQA review, and determine whether the use is in the best interest of the state.

    An application will remain incomplete if the information needed for staff to make one or more of the above determinations is missing or insufficient.

    Even though an application may be deemed complete, additional information is often required before a Commission action to supplement, amplify, or clarify information already received.

  • What other states have permitted offshore renewable energy development?
    • Delaware
    • Massachusetts
    • Maryland
    • North Carolina
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • Rhode Island
    • Virginia

Previous Staff Reports

10/21/2021 (32) - Consider delegation of authority for the Executive Officer to solicit Statements of Interest for consultant services, negotiate fair and reasonable prices, and award and execute agreements for the preparation of environmental documentation and mitigation monitoring for two proposed offshore wind energy projects in the Pacific Ocean, near Vandenberg Space Force Base, Santa Barbara County.


Lease Application Contact
Shahed Meshkati
Supervising Mineral Resources Engineer

CEQA Contact
Jason Ramos
Senior Environmental Scientist

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