The Department of the Interior announced today that it will hold the first-ever offshore wind energy lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico on Aug. 29.
The areas to be auctioned on Aug. 29 by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management have the potential to generate approximately 3.7 GW and power almost 1.3 million homes with clean, renewable energy, the Interior Department said.
“Today’s announcement marks another historic step in the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to create a clean energy future. By catalyzing the offshore wind energy potential of the Gulf of Mexico, we can tackle the climate crisis, lower energy costs for families and create good-paying jobs,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement.
“The Gulf of Mexico is poised to play a key role in our nation’s transition to a clean energy future,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “Today’s announcement follows years of engagement with government agencies, states, ocean users, and stakeholders in the Gulf of Mexico region. We look forward to continued collaboration in the years to come.”
The lease sale announced today follows the Biden administration’s third approval earlier this month of a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project in the U.S. and is part of the leasing path announced in 2021.
“Today's announcement marks a significant milestone in the advancement of the U.S. offshore wind sector. The Gulf of Mexico has long been esteemed as a premier offshore energy hub, spearheading the way with low-carbon barrels of oil," National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) President Erik Milito said in a statement. "This achievement underscores the region’s history of unwavering innovation and leadership. The introduction of new offshore wind lease sales, combined with the resumption of a long-term oil and gas leasing program, can establish a solid foundation for the continued prosperity of the Gulf of Mexico's exceptional and invaluable energy portfolio."
The final sale notice (FSN), which will publish in the Federal Register on July 21, includes a 102,480-acre area offshore Lake Charles, La., 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 Interior Department announced the proposed sale notice for offshore wind energy development in the Gulf of Mexico. 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.