ARKANSAS, Oct 31 (Future Headlines)- The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has concluded its selection of four new wind energy areas (WEAs) in the Gulf of Mexico, paving the way for potential offshore wind projects capable of generating renewable energy for over three million households.
The four WEAs comprise:
Option J: Spanning 495,567 acres, located about 47.2 miles off the coast of Texas, with the capacity to support projects capable of powering around 2.1 million homes.
Option K: Encompassing 119,635 acres, situated approximately 61.5 miles off the Texas coast, with the potential to accommodate projects generating electricity for approximately 508,200 homes.
Option L: Covering 91,157 acres, positioned roughly 52.9 miles off the Texas coast, with the capacity to support projects that can provide power for around 387,450 homes.
Option N: Extending over 56,978 acres, located approximately 82 miles off the coast of Louisiana, with the potential to facilitate projects capable of supplying electricity to approximately 242,000 homes.
BOEM is set to initiate the next phases of the leasing process, which include issuing a proposed sale notice with a 60-day public comment period. In the run-up to the finalization of the WEAs, BOEM worked in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to construct a model for analyzing the entire Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. This approach aimed to identify and minimize 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,” remarked Elizabeth Klein, BOEM Director.
Klein further emphasized BOEM’s commitment to collaborating with tribes, government partners, coastal states, ocean users, and local communities as they move forward in their efforts to develop offshore areas responsibly while mitigating potential conflicts with other marine activities and marine life in the Gulf of Mexico.
This announcement follows the groundbreaking Gulf of Mexico offshore wind lease sale in August. During that event, two developers submitted bids for one of the three available offshore wind area leases.
RWE Offshore US Gulf, LLC submitted the highest bid at $5.6 million for the Lake Charles Lease Area. This area has the potential to generate approximately 1.24 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity, which could power nearly 435,400 homes with clean, renewable energy, according to BOEM. However, the Galveston I and Galveston II areas located off the Texas coast received no bids and remained unawarded.
Writing by Kevin Wood; Editing by Sarah White