The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has finalized four new Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) in the Gulf of Mexico, following the first-ever Gulf of Mexico offshore wind lease sale earlier this year.
“Creating an offshore wind industry in the Gulf of Mexico will take time and partnership. 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,” says BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein.
Before finalizing the WEAs, BOEM collaborated with NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to build a model that analyzed the entire Gulf of Mexico ecosystem to identify and minimize potential conflicts with marine resources and ocean users. BOEM also incorporated feedback from Tribes, other government agencies, ocean users, and others to help identify potential offshore locations that appeared most suitable for offshore wind energy development.
The four WEAs are:
- 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;
- 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.
Maps of the WEAs can be found on BOEM’s website. The next steps in BOEM’s renewable energy competitive leasing process include issuing a Proposed Sale Notice with a 60-day public comment period.
The first Gulf of Mexico offshore wind lease sale brought in a high bid of $5.6 million from RWE Offshore US Gulf LLC for the Lake Charles Lease Area, which has the potential to support up to 1.24 GW of offshore wind energy.
For more information, go to https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/gulf-mexico-activities.