US energy giant Sempra could be poised to enter the offshore wind sector under a deal that would see it join French supermajor TotalEnergies in a planned project off California.

San Diego-based Sempra is set to acquire 30% of TotalEnergies’ stake in the offshore project under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two over co-development in renewables. Sempra said that would leave it with 24% of the offshore wind development.

The project in question is not named in a statement announcing the MoU, but it is said to be “preparing for an upcoming auction” and was confirmed to Recharge by TotalEnergies to be Castle Wind.

TotalEnergies in late February acquired the stake previously held by Germany’s EnBW in Castle Wind, which aims to deploy 1GW of floating turbines off Central California and is set to enter the milestone West Coast leasing round planned by the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) later this year.

Sempra’s broad portfolio of companies includes Californian utilities San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCalGas. The latter in February unveiled a giant plan called Angeles Link that would be among the largest green hydrogen and renewables initiatives in the US.

The arrival in offshore wind of Sempra – one of the largest American energy groups spanning gas and power infrastructure – would mark the entry of another big domestic player in a US offshore wind sector so far dominated by European giants such as Equinor, BP, Iberdrola, Shell and Orsted, as well as TotalEnergies itself.

That began to change when Chicago-based Invenergy led a successful bid into this month’s huge New York Bight auction for new east coast offshore wind acreage.

The MoU on renewables said TotalEnergies could in turn acquire 30% of Sempra’s stakes “in certain onshore renewable projects under development along the Mexico-US border”.

The two companies also signed an agreement that could see the French group take a stake in a liquefied natural gas facility Sempra is building on the Mexican coast, building on an existing LNG partnership between the two.

Sempra CEO Jeffrey Martin said: "With last week's energy accord between the US and European Commission, alliances between some of the leading energy companies like TotalEnergies and Sempra are increasingly important to transatlantic trade and energy security.

"We own one of the largest energy networks in North America, and by collaborating with TotalEnergies to create additional scale advantages in LNG and renewable energy, our customers benefit from having access to cleaner and more affordable energy options and improved security of supply."

“This new step in our collaboration allow us to go further in our ambition to offer our customers sustainable, affordable and reliable energy, in line with our transformation into a global multi-energy company,” added TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanné.

The French supermajor has identified the US as a key market in its drive towards 100GW gross of renewable energy capacity by 2030, one of the most ambitious targets globally.

It won with EnBW in New York Bight, then bought out its partner's stake in a lease area where it hopes to develop up to 3GW.

TotalEnergies has also invested heavily in US solar to amass a 4GW portfolio.

Update: Adds confirmation that project is Castle Wind