Wind turbines off of Block Island

Wind turbines at Orsted's Block Island wind farm off Rhode Island, one of two commercial offshore wind farms in the United States. Credit: PennyJack Creative/Shutterstock

Biden Administration to Hold First-Ever Offshore Wind Lease Sale in Gulf of Mexico

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1046
July 20, 2023

The Department of the Interior will hold the first-ever offshore wind energy lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, auctioning areas that have the potential to generate approximately 3.7 GW and power almost 1.3 million homes with clean, renewable energy.

The Final Sale Notice for Gulf Wind, which will be published in the Federal Register on July 21, 2023, includes three lease areas offshore Louisiana and Texas, totaling 301,746 acres.

“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,” said Secretary Deb Haaland.

The lease sale follows the Biden Administration’s third approval of a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project in the United States and is part of the leasing path announced in 2021 as the administration seeks to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy by 2030. The leasing path includes up to seven new offshore wind lease sales by 2025 in the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, Central Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Carolinas, California, and Oregon. So far, BOEM 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.

“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 Department of the Interior announced the Proposed Sale Notice for offshore wind energy development in the Gulf of Mexico earlier this year, and received comments on several lease stipulations that support BOEM’s commitment to engage with underserved communities, ocean users, and other stakeholders. Some of these stipulations include bidding credits for supporting workforce training programs and establishing a fisheries compensatory mitigation fund, as well as requiring regular progress reports on engagement with Tribes and ocean users.

BOEM expects to review at least 16 Construction and Operations Plans of offshore wind energy facilities by 2025, representing over 27 GW of clean energy for the U.S.

A final date for the Gulf Wind lease sale has not been finalized.

Earlier this month, BOEM completed its environmental review of the proposed Revolution Wind Farm Project offshore Rhode Island, which proposes to construct up to 100 wind turbines capable of generating up to 880 megawatts, enough to provide an estimated 300,000 homes with clean renewable energy. The achievement marked the third commercial-scale offshore wind energy project approval in U.S. federal waters under the Biden Administration, joining the Vineyard Wind project and the South Fork Wind project, which are currently under construction.

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