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Distributed Energy Resources

Interior to Hold First-Ever Offshore Wind Lease Sale in the Gulf of Mexico

The Department of the Interior on July 20 said it will hold the first-ever offshore wind energy lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico.

The areas to be auctioned on August 29, 2023, by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management have the potential to generate approximately 3.7 gigawatts.

The announcement advances the Biden Administration’s efforts to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030 and reach a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035.

The lease sale announcement follows the Biden-Harris administration’s third approval earlier this month of a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project in the United States and is part of the leasing path announced by Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland in 2021.

The Final Sale Notice includes a 102,480-acre area offshore Lake Charles, Louisiana, and two areas offshore Galveston, Texas, one comprising 102,480 acres and the other 96,786 acres.

The FSN provides detailed information about the final lease areas, lease provisions and conditions, and auction details. It also identifies qualified companies who can participate in the lease auction.

Details on the FSN, along with a map of the area can be found on BOEM’s website.

Earlier this year, the Department announced the Proposed Sale Notice for offshore wind energy development in the Gulf of Mexico.

Interior said that during the 60-day comment period, BOEM received comments on several lease stipulations that supported BOEM’s commitment to engage with underserved communities, ocean users and other stakeholders.

Some of these stipulations, which are part of the FSN, include:

  • Bidding credits to bidders who commit to supporting workforce training programs, developing a domestic supply chain for the offshore wind energy industry,
  • Bidding credits for establishing and contributing to a fisheries compensatory mitigation fund or contributing to an existing fund to mitigate potential negative impacts to commercial and for-hire recreational fisheries caused by offshore wind energy development in the Gulf of Mexico, and
  • Requiring that lessees provide a regular progress report summarizing engagement with Tribes and ocean users potentially affected by proposed offshore wind energy activities.

BOEM expects to review at least 16 Construction and Operations Plans of commercial, offshore wind energy facilities by 2025, which would represent more than 27 GW.