Against the backdrop of a former Massachusetts coal-fired power plant that is to host a cable manufacturing facility to support offshore wind, President Biden today announced a number of executive actions on climate aimed at addressing extreme heat and boosting offshore wind.
According to a White House fact sheet, the offshore wind actions include kickstarting the potential for offshore wind in the Gulf of Mexico and promoting offshore wind opportunities in the Southeast.
TWO GULF WIND ENERGY AREAS
In response to the President’s actions, the Department of the Interior today announced that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is now seeking public input on the identification of two potential offshore wind energy areas (WEAs) in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).
The first draft WEA is located approximately 24 nautical miles off the coast of Galveston, Texas. The area for review totals 546,645 acres and according to BOEM has the potential to power 2.3 million homes with wind energy. The second draft WEA is located approximately 56 nautical miles off the coast of Lake Charles, La. The area for review totals 188,023 acres and has the potential to power 799,000 homes.
The two draft WEAs represent a subset of the original 30-million acre Gulf of Mexico Call Area that the Department of the Interior announced for public comment in October 2021. The draft WEAs were reduced to avoid potential impacts on other ocean uses and resources, such as commercial and recreational fishing, maritime navigation, military activities, marine protected species, avian species, and existing infrastructure.
Public comments on the draft WEAs will be accepted for 30 days beginning July 20, 2022.
In addition to the draft WEAs, BOEM has prepared a draft environmental assessment (EA) covering the entire call area to consider the potential impacts from site characterization (e.g., marine mammal surveys) and site assessment (e.g., installation of meteorological buoys) activities expected to take place following lease issuance. The EA analysis will inform potential lease stipulations necessary to address identified environmental impacts associated with offshore wind leasing activities. Public comments on the draft EA will also be accepted for 30 days beginning July 20, 2022.
More on all that HERE
The White House fact sheet says that the prior Administration cast uncertainty over the future of offshore wind and other clean energy development off the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
“Today, President Biden is directing the Secretary of the Interior to advance clean energy development in these federal waters—ensuring that these southeast states will be able to benefit from good-paying jobs in the burgeoning offshore wind industry,” said the statement.
Expect an announcement from BOEM in the not too distant future.
NOIA REITERATES CALL FOR RENEWED OIL AND GAS LEASING
National Ocean Industries Association President Erik Milito issued the following statement following President Biden’s announcement:
“Our country is in dire need of a cohesive national energy policy. The opportunity is before us to produce reliable, affordable, lower carbon, and secure domestic energy. We can only get there through an all-of-the-above approach, which must include the resumption of domestic offshore oil and gas leasing.” said. On a positive note, the Administration continues to promote investment in the offshore wind sector, and the full supply chain of the offshore energy industry is well-positioned for the build-out of the U.S. wind sector. We look forward to advancing projects in the Gulf of Mexico and Southeast.
“Companies along the Gulf Coast are innovating durable climate and emissions solutions across the wide spectrum of energy sectors. Resuming Gulf of Mexico oil and gas leasing will enable continued innovation, including the build-out of American offshore wind, and will reduce the need to secure our energy from foreign, higher emitting sources.”