US to Hold Second Gulf of Mexico Offshore Wind Lease Sale

The US Department of the Interior (DOI) has proposed a second offshore wind energy lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, with four areas offshore Louisiana and Texas to be auctioned off.

On 20 March, the DOI and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will publish the proposed sale notice (PSN) in the Federal Register today, 21 March, and open a 60-day public comment period, during which BOEM aims to get feedback on various aspects of the proposed lease areas, including size, orientation, and location of the four lease areas.

The comment period also provides an opportunity to provide input on which areas, if any, should be prioritised for inclusion or exclusion from the lease sale.

BOEM is also seeking comments on potential lease revisions to include the production of hydrogen or other energy products using wind turbines on the lease, the federal agency said.

As for the lease sale design itself, BOEM plans to conduct simultaneous auctions for each of the four areas using multiple-factor bidding and will use new auction software for enhanced efficiency. Adjustments to auction rules used in previous offshore wind lease auctions will be minor, according to the agency.

After the public comment period ends on 20 May and BOEM reviews the feedback, the agency will decide whether to proceed with the auction and, if so, publish a final sale notice (FSN).

The US held the first offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico last year, with RWE securing the rights to develop an offshore wind project at the Lake Charles Lease Area off Louisiana.

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The two other areas that were auctioned in the first Gulf of Mexico lease sale, Galveston I and Galveston II areas offshore Texas, received zero bids and were unawarded.

In October 2023, BOEM finalised four new wind energy areas (WEAs) in the Gulf of Mexico, based on which the US is now proposing the second lease sale. Three of the four areas are located offshore Texas.

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