For the first time, the U.S. government has auctioned Pacific coast offshore wind power sites. Soon, 1.5 million California homes could be powered by offshore wind.

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You probably won’t be able to see this development from the beach. The wind turbines will be about 20 miles off the coast, floating in water a half mile deep. Cables running along the seabed will then bring the electricity to shore. Additionally, five winning companies paid the U.S. Treasury $757 million for the privilege.

Related: World’s largest floating wind farm comes to life

“We’re excited that the vast potential of offshore wind on the west coast is on its way to fruition,” said Stephanie McClellan, as reported by USA Today. McClellan is the executive director of Turn Forward, an offshore wind advocacy organization. “Now California – and the United States – have an opportunity to be a major global exporter for the offshore floating wind industry.”

Since many other Pacific-rim countries have a similar geography to California, if offshore wind power works well here, it may be adopted by other places.

In the past, companies set up U.S. offshore wind projects in shallower water, anchoring apparatuses to the bottom.

Instead, floating wind platforms are attached to the ocean floor by mooring lines, much like a floating oil rig. Floating turbines are ridiculously large. As a result, their blades can measure up to 360 feet long. This means that each turbine can produce enough electricity to power 5,000 homes.

The lease sale also shows that the U.S. is serious about developing deep-water wind energy. However, investors are still partial to shallower water. East coast leases — where the water is shallower and turbines can be attached to the bottom — went for a lot more. Six companies paid a whopping $4.37 billion to set up wind turbines three miles off the New York and New Jersey coasts. This set a record for the Department of Interior’s biggest money auction ever, acing out oil and gas leases.

Via USA Today

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