In another step by the Biden-Harris administration to support the growing momentum across America for a clean energy economy, the Department of the Interior today announced its proposal for a second offshore wind energy auction in the Gulf of Mexico.

The proposed lease sale includes four areas offshore Louisiana and Texas, totaling 410,060 acres, which have the potential to power 1.2 million homes.   

The announcement is part of the administration’s commitment to expand offshore wind opportunities, building on investments made by the President’s Investing in America agenda to develop a clean energy economy, create good-paying jobs for American workers, and make communities more resilient.  

“Today’s announcement is another step forward in the Biden-Harris administration’s pursuit of building a clean energy future and permitting 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030,” Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement announcing the proposal. “We are taking action to jumpstart America’s offshore wind industry and using American innovation to deliver reliable, affordable power to homes and businesses, while also addressing the climate crisis."    

“BOEM is proud to play a leading role in the administration’s clean energy efforts,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Elizabeth Klein. “We look forward to receiving feedback from Tribes, other government agencies, ocean users, local communities, and others to minimize any impacts to natural and cultural resources, reduce potential conflicts with ocean uses, and maintain a healthy marine ecosystem.”  

Since the start of the Biden-Harris administration, the department has approved the nation's first six commercial scale offshore wind projects, held three offshore wind lease auctions — including a record-breaking sale offshore New York and the first-ever sales offshore the Pacific and Gulf coasts, initiated environmental review of 12 offshore wind projects, and advanced the process to access and establish additional wind energy areas in Oregon, the Gulf of Maine and the Central Atlantic. The Department has also taken steps to evolve its approach to offshore wind to drive towards union-built projects and a domestic based supply chain.  

With today’s proposed sale, BOEM is seeking feedback on various aspects of the proposed lease areas, including size, orientation, and location of the four lease areas and which areas, if any, should be prioritized for inclusion or exclusion from this lease sale. BOEM is also seeking comment on potential lease revisions to include the production of hydrogen or other energy products using wind turbine generators on the lease. 

BOEM is considering lease stipulations to ensure that communities, particularly those which are historically underserved, are considered and engaged early and often throughout the offshore wind energy development process. Proposed bidding credits include funding for fisheries compensatory mitigation and workforce development. 

BOEM is proposing to conduct simultaneous auctions for each of the four lease areas using multiple-factor bidding. BOEM will use new auction software for enhanced efficiency, with minor adjustments to auction rules used in previous offshore wind lease auctions.  

The Proposed Sale Notice will publish in the Federal Register March 21, 2024, initiating a 60-day public comment period ending on May 20, 2024. If BOEM decides to proceed with the auction, the next step would be publication of a Final Sale Notice.  

More information can be found here.