The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Oct. 27 announced it has finalized four new Wind Energy Areas in the Gulf of Mexico.
The announcement follows the first-ever Gulf of Mexico offshore wind lease sale earlier this year.
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 said it 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
- Option K: 119,635 acres located approximately 61.5 miles off the coast of Texas
- Option L: 91,157 acres located approximately 52.9 miles off the coast of Texas
- Option N: 56,978 acres located approximately 82 miles off the coast of Louisiana.
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 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity and power nearly 435,000 homes with clean, renewable energy.