It is the latest government initiative to install wind turbines along every American coast, with the aim of generating 30 gigawatts of electricity by 2030. President Joe Biden has said the new industry will create jobs and will fight against climate change.
The announcement follows two successful auctions this year in Atlantic waters that together generated more than $4.6 billion in high bids. Until now, offshore wind development in the United States has been mainly in the Northeast and has been dominated by European energy companies.
The notice of sale includes three rental areas off Central California near Morro Bay and two areas off the North Shore near Humboldt County. The areas were first identified by the Home Office a year ago for potential development.
The areas total around 373,000 acres (150,950 hectares) which could one day generate more than 4.5 gigawatts of energy and power 1.5 million homes, the Home Office said in a statement.
These projects will help California, which has some of the most aggressive climate change policies in the nation, meet its goal of removing fossil fuels from its electric grid by 2045.
Earlier this month, the state set a preliminary goal of building 3 GW of offshore wind turbines by 2030 and up to 12 GW more by 2045.
The Home Secretary will seek public comment on the proposal for 60 days. at that time, he will decide whether or not to publish a final notice of sale which would include a date for the auction.
Projects off the California coast would use floating turbines, an emerging technology, due to the depth of the outer continental shelf in the Pacific.