Distributed Energy Resources

U.S. Finalizes Offshore Wind Sites To Be Auctioned in Gulf Of Mexico

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has finalized two Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) in the Gulf of Mexico.

Later this year or early next year, BOEM intends to issue a proposed sale notice for the competition to lease the areas. The notice will include a 60-day public comment period.

The first WEA is approximately 24 nautical miles (27.6 miles) off the coast of Galveston, Texas. The area totals 508,265 acres.

The second WEA is approximately 56 (64.4 miles) off the coast of Lake Charles, La. The area totals 174,275 acres.

BOEM said it slightly reduced the size of the WEAs from the original draft versions to address concerns expressed by the Department of Defense and the U.S. Coast Guard regarding shipping, marine navigation, and military operations.

Last October, the Biden administration, to further its goal of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030, outlined a path for the potential sale of up to seven new offshore leases for wind power projects by 2025.

In February 2022, the Department of the Interior (DOI) held the first competition for offshore wind leases, offering 488,000 acres in the New York Bight. The auction drew winning bids from six companies totaling approximately $4.37 billion, which the DOI said was the highest grossing competitive offshore energy lease sale in history, including oil and gas lease sales.

In May, a BOEM auction for two lease areas in the Carolina Long Bay drew competitive winning bids from two companies, Duke Energy and TotalEnergies, totaling approximately $315 million.

In August, the DOI released a request for interest for leasing potential offshore wind energy sites in the Gulf of Maine, a first step in preparation for holding a competitive bid for the site.