Interior to assess renewable energy development on Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf

The Department of the Interior on June 8 announced its intent to assess potential opportunities to advance clean energy development on the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

The announcement is part of the Biden Administration’s goal to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which is part of the Department of the Interior, published a Request for Interest (RFI) in the Federal Register on June 11 to assess interest in potential offshore wind development in the OCS.

The RFI is focused on the Western and Central Planning Areas of the Gulf of Mexico offshore the states of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Although the primary focus of the RFI is on wind energy development, BOEM is also seeking information on other renewable energy technologies.

To date, BOEM has leased approximately 1.7 million acres in the OCS for offshore wind development and has 17 commercial leases on the Atlantic, from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras.

The publishing of the RFI opens a 45-day public comment period to solicit indications of competitive interest and additional information on potential environmental consequences and other uses of the proposed area. BOEM will consider data received in response to this RFI to determine next steps in the renewable energy leasing process in the Gulf of Mexico.

As part of this process, BOEM will convene the Gulf of Mexico Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force to help coordinate planning, solicit feedback, and exchange scientific and process information.

BOEM will hold its first task force meeting on June 15. The task force comprises members representing federal, Tribal, state and local governments from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.

For more information including a map depicting the RFI area, see BOEM’s renewable energy page.