WASHINGTON — The US Department of the Interior (DOI) is proposing the first offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM).
The announcement is part of the US government's latest actions to expand offshore wind opportunities to more regions of the country, building on investments in the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to spur offshore wind deployment and create jobs.
The proposed sale is part of the leasing path announced in 2021 to meet the administration’s goal to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 and follows the DOI's approval of the nation's first two commercial scale offshore wind projects.
The DOI has held three offshore wind lease auctions (including a sale offshore New York and the first sale offshore the Pacific Coast in California), initiated environmental review of 10 offshore wind projects, and advanced the process to explore additional wind energy areas in Oregon, the Gulf of Maine and Central Atlantic. The DOI also has taken steps to evolve its approach to offshore wind to drive toward union-built projects and a domestic-based supply chain.
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Elizabeth Klein said, “Today’s announcement comes after years of engagement with Tribes, other government agencies, ocean users and stakeholders, and this proposed sale notice provides another opportunity for them to weigh in on potential offshore wind leasing in the Gulf of Mexico.”
The proposed sale notice (PSN) includes a 102,480-acre area offshore Lake Charles, Louisiana, and two areas offshore Galveston, Texas, one comprising 102,480 acres and the other comprising 96,786 acres. BOEM is seeking public comments on which, if any, of the two lease areas offshore Galveston should be offered in the final sale notice (FSN). These areas have the potential to power almost 1.3 million homes with clean energy.
BOEM also is seeking feedback on several lease stipulations. Proposed lease stipulations would prioritize workforce training, domestic supply chain development, fishery protection. and community engagement.
The PSN will publish in the Federal Register later this month and initiates a 60-day public comment period. If the DOI decides to proceed with the sale, BOEM will publish a FSN 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.