Gulf of Mexico Step Closer to Offshore Wind Lease Sale
The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has announced that the development of offshore wind leasing areas in the Gulf of Mexico will have no significant impacts on environmental resources.
The environmental assessment (EA) considered the potential environmental consequences of site characterisation activities (i.e., biological, archeological, geological, and geophysical surveys and core samples) and site assessment activities (i.e., installation of meteorological buoys) associated with the possibility of issuing wind energy leases in the Gulf of Mexico.
The final EA was made possible by the work of the Gulf of Mexico Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, a collaboration between Tribal, Federal, state, and local government agencies to use the best available science and indigenous knowledge to minimise conflicts between ocean uses, BOEM said.
“We will continue to work closely with our task force members, ocean users, and others to ensure that any development in the region is done responsibly and in a way that avoids, reduces, or mitigates potential impacts to ocean users and the marine environment”, said Liz Klein, BOEM Director.
BOEM prepared the EA on the entire 30-million-acre call area.
In October 2022, BOEM announced two wind energy areas (WEAS) offshore Texas and Louisiana totalling about 682,000 acres. The first WEA is located approximately 24 nautical miles off the coast of Galveston, Texas, while the second one is located about 56 nautical miles off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana.
In February this year, BOEM announced its proposal for the first offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico for areas within the WEAs.
These areas have the potential to power almost 1.3 million homes with clean energy.
If the Department decides to proceed with the sale, BOEM will publish a Final Sale Notice at least 30 days ahead of the sale, which would announce the time and date of the lease sale and the companies qualified to participate in it.
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