Interior proposes first-ever GoM offshore wind lease saleWritten by Nick Blenkey
Following up on an announcement made back in October last year, the U.S. Department of the Interior today issued a notice proposing the first-ever U.S. Gulf of Mexico offshore wind lease sale.
The proposed sale is part of the leasing path announced by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland in 2021 to meet the Biden administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030 and follows the Department’s approval of the nation’s first two commercial scale offshore wind projects.
“BOEM is committed to ensuring any offshore wind activities are done in a manner that avoids or minimizes potential impacts to the ocean and ocean users,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Elizabeth Klein. “Today’s announcement comes after years of engagement with tribes, other government agencies, ocean users and stakeholders, and this proposed sale notice provides another opportunity for them to weigh in on potential offshore wind leasing in the Gulf of Mexico.”
The Gulf of Mexico offshore wind lease sale announcement was welcomed by the National Ocean Industries Association.
NOIA president Erik Milito released the following statement:
“The announcement by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management of the Proposed Sale Notice for the first Gulf of Mexico offshore wind lease sale is an important step in the build-out of the U.S. offshore wind sector. Decades of innovation and experience has enabled the Gulf of Mexico to become a premier offshore energy region, including being a leader in low carbon oil and gas production. Through offshore wind, along with regular and predictable offshore oil and gas leasing, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico can expand its remarkable and irreplaceable energy portfolio. The energy, jobs, and investment opportunities from Gulf of Mexico offshore wind will be additive to the incredible benefits the offshore oil and gas sector provides our nation.
“The Gulf of Mexico is a true energy hub and there is already an amazing synergy between offshore oil and gas and offshore wind. NOIA members companies have been instrumental in the development and construction of offshore oil and gas projects and offshore wind projects. Now many Gulf Coast companies will have a chance to build new wind projects closer to home. The American offshore energy sector benefits for Americans of all walks of life and this relationship will strengthen with new offshore wind opportunities. We are excited for the offshore wind opportunity in the Gulf of Mexico.”
SITES OFFSHORE LAKE CHARLES AND GALVESTON
The Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) announced today includes a 102,480-acre area offshore Lake Charles, Louisiana, and two areas offshore Galveston, Texas, one comprising 102,480 acres and the other comprising 96,786 acres.
BOEM is seeking public comments on which, if any, of the two lease areas offshore Galveston should be offered in the Final Sale Notice. These areas have the potential to power almost 1.3 million homes with clean energy.
BOEM is also seeking feedback on several lease stipulations that would reaffirm its commitment to create good-paying jobs and engage with ocean users and other stakeholders. Some of these potential stipulations include:
- Bidding credits to bidders that commit to supporting workforce training programs for the offshore wind industry, developing a domestic supply chain for the offshore wind industry, or a combination of both.
- 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 development in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Requiring that lessees provide a regular progress report summarizing engagement with Tribes and ocean users potentially affected by proposed offshore wind activities.
The Gulf of Mexico offshore wind lease sale PSN will publish in the Federal Register later this month and initiates a 60-day public comment period. If the Department decides to proceed with the sale, BOEM will publish a Final Sale Notice at least 30 days ahead of the sale, which would announce the time and date of the lease sale and the companies qualified to participate in it.
- More at BOEM’s Gulf of Mexico Activities webpage.