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The U.S. Department of the Interior has proposed the first-ever offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico.
The proposed sale 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. Together, the areas has the potential to power almost 1.3 million homes with renewable energy.
“America’s clean energy transition is happening right here and now. At the Department, we are taking action to jumpstart our offshore wind industry and harness American innovation to deliver reliable, affordable power to homes and businesses,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “There is no time to waste in making bold investments to address the climate crisis, and building a strong domestic offshore wind industry is key to meeting that challenge head on.”
The DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will publish a Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) in the Federal Register later this month initiate a 60-day public comment period that will help inform a Final Sale Notice.
The PSN includes several lease stipulations prioritizing workforce training, domestic supply chain development, fishery protection, and community engagement.
The Gulf of Mexico lease sale is one of seven that BOEM intends to hold by 2025 as part of the Biden Administration’s goal to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030. Already under the Biden Administration, the Department of the Interior has already held three offshore wind lease auctions – including a record-breaking sale offshore New York and the first-ever sale offshore the Pacific Coast in California—in addition to approving the nation’s first two commercial scale offshore wind projects. BOEM has also initiated environmental review of 10 offshore wind projects, and advanced the process to explore additional Wind Energy Areas in Oregon, Gulf of Maine and Central Atlantic.
“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 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.”
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