BOEM Identifies Four New Wind Areas Offshore Gulf of Mexico, Plans Another Lease Sale
The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has finalised four new wind energy areas (WEAS) in the Gulf of Mexico that could support offshore wind projects with the potential to produce enough renewable energy to power more than three million homes.
The four WEAs include Option J, 495,567 acres located approximately 47.2 miles off the coast of Texas, with the potential to support projects that could power 2.1 million homes; Option K, 119,635 acres located approximately 61.5 miles off the coast of Texas, with the potential to support projects that could power 508,200 homes; Option L, 91,157 acres located approximately 52.9 miles off the coast of Texas, with the potential to support projects that could power 387,450 homes; and Option N, 56,978 acres located approximately 82 miles off the coast of Louisiana with the potential to support projects that could power approximately 242,000 homes.
The next steps in the leasing process include issuing a proposed sale notice with a 60-day public comment period, according to BOEM.
Before finalising the WEAs, BOEM collaborated with NOAA’s National Centres for Coastal Ocean Science to build a model that analysed the entire Gulf of Mexico ecosystem to identify and minimise potential conflicts with marine resources and ocean users.
“BOEM is pursuing another offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico due to continued industry interest and feedback from our partners and key stakeholders,” said Elizabeth Klein, BOEM Director.
“BOEM will continue to work with the Tribes, other government partners, coastal states, ocean users, and local communities as we advance our work in a manner that seeks to responsibly develop offshore areas while minimizing potential conflicts with other ocean uses and marine life in the Gulf of Mexico.”
The announcement of new WEAs follows the first-ever Gulf of Mexico offshore wind lease sale in August which saw two developers bid for one of three available offshore wind area leases.
The lease sale brought a high bid of USD 5.6 million from RWE Offshore US Gulf, LLC for the Lake Charles Lease Area.
The area has the potential to generate approximately 1.24 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity and power nearly 435,400 homes with renewable energy, according to BOEM.
The Galveston I and Galveston II areas offshore Texas received zero bids and were unawarded.
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