US Opens Gulf of Mexico to Offshore Wind

The US Department of the Interior will assess potential opportunities to advance offshore wind development on the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will publish a Request for Interest (RFI) in the Federal Register on Friday, 11 June to assess interest in potential offshore wind development in the OCS.

The RFI will be focused on the Western and Central Planning Areas of the Gulf of Mexico offshore the states of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Although the primary focus of the RFI is on wind energy development, BOEM is also seeking information on other renewable energy technologies.

The move is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030.

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”The Interior Department is committed to developing a robust and sustainable clean energy economy,” said the US Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland.

”We know that offshore wind development has the potential to create tens of thousands of good-paying, union jobs across the nation. This is an important first step to see what role the Gulf may play in this exciting frontier.”

Once published, the RFI will open a 45-day public comment period to solicit indications of competitive interest and additional information on potential environmental consequences and other uses of the proposed area.

BOEM will consider data received in response to this RFI to determine the next steps in the renewable energy leasing process in the Gulf of Mexico.

As part of this process, BOEM will convene the Gulf of Mexico Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force to help coordinate planning, solicit feedback, and exchange scientific and process information.

BOEM will hold its first task force meeting on 15 June. The task force comprises members representing federal, Tribal, state, and local governments from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama.

”The Biden-Harris administration has energized the offshore wind industry by announcing the first ever national offshore wind energy goal, creating a roadmap for the future of this innovative industry,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton.

”I’m excited to see the Gulf be a potential part of this historic effort.”

To date, BOEM has leased approximately 1.7 million acres in the OCS for offshore wind development and has 17 commercial leases on the Atlantic, from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras.

Photo: Dominion Energy/Illustration