In a move towards expanding the American clean energy industry, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has proposed the first-ever offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico. The announcement, made on February 22nd, is the Biden Administration’s latest effort to expand offshore wind opportunities—with the proposed sale including 102,480 acres offshore Lake Charles, Louisiana and two areas offshore Galveston, Texas totaling 199,266 acres. Combined, the areas potentially could provide renewable energy to almost 1.3 million homes.
“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 DOI 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 Gulf of Mexico lease sale is one of seven that DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has pursued as part of the Administration’s goal to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030. This proposal follows three successful offshore wind lease auctions—including a record-breaking sale offshore New York and the first-ever sale offshore California—the approval of the first two commercial-scale offshore wind projects, the still-ongoing environmental review of 10 offshore wind projects, and furthered the exploration of Wind Energy Areas in Oregon, Gulf of Maine and Central Atlantic.
BOEM also has published a Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) in the Federal Register, seeking public comments on the Gulf of Mexico lease proposal, as well as specific lease stipulations prioritizing workforce training, domestic supply chain development, fishery protection, and community engagement.
“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 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.”
To view the Proposed Sale Notice for the Gulf of Mexico Lease: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/02/24/2023-03842/proposed-sale-notice-for-commercial-leasing-for-wind-power-development-on-the-outer-continental
To view the White House Press Statement: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/02/22/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-announces-actions-to-expand-offshore-wind-nationally-and-harness-more-reliable-affordable-clean-energy/#:~:text=Advancing%20Offshore%20Wind%20in%20the,power%20almost%201.3%20million%20homes.
We at the Herd Law firm support energy development in the Gulf of Mexico, where most of my clients make their living.