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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

Gulf of Mexico Offshore Wind Areas Finalized

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1288
October 31, 2022

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has designated two areas in the Gulf of Mexico for the development of offshore wind projects, which combined could have potential to power nearly 3 million homes.

The first Wind Energy Area (WEA) is located approximately 24 nautical miles (nm) off the coast of Galveston, Texas, and spans 508,265 acres with the potential to power 2.1 million homes. The second WEA is located approximately 56 nm off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana. The area totals 174,275 acres and has the potential to power over 740,000 homes.

BOEM slightly reduced the size of the WEAs from their draft versions to address concerns expressed by the Department of Defense and the U.S. Coast Guard regarding shipping, marine navigation, and military operations.

“These two wind energy areas represent exciting progress toward having the first offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, where there is a mature industry base and the know how to advance energy development in the OCS. The Region can play a central role in our nation’s clean energy transition to support good paying jobs, fight climate change,” said BOEM Director Amanda Lefton. “BOEM will continue to work with the coastal states and communities as we advance our work and do so in a manner that seeks to avoid or minimize conflicts with other ocean uses and marine life in the Gulf of Mexico.”

A map showing the Gulf of Mexico's designated offshore wind areas off the coast of Texas and Louisiana

The designations are the latest in the Biden Administration’s push to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030. In addition to approving the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind projects, the administration is planning to hold up to seven competitive offshore wind lease sales, including two that have already taken place for waters off New York and New Jersey and the Carolinas. A third is planned in December for two areas off the coast of California. Others are planned for waters off the coasts Oregon, the Central Atlantic, Gulf of Maine, and the Gulf of Mexico.

To date, BOEM has held 10 competitive lease sales and issued 27 active commercial wind leases in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to North Carolina.

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