The Department of the Interior announced Friday that it has finalized four new wind energy areas in the Gulf of Mexico, following the first-ever offshore wind lease auction there in August, which only received bids on one out of three areas offered for leasing.
Three of the new areas are off the coast of Texas, and one is off the coast of Louisiana. The August auction offered two areas offshore Galveston, Texas, which did not receive bids, and one offshore Lake Charles, Louisiana, which was sold to RWE Offshore US Gulf for $5.6 million.
“The Gulf is well-positioned to transition to a renewable energy future. The region’s existing energy infrastructure, workforce, and businesses’ expertise in offshore operations can immediately benefit offshore wind development,” John Filostrat, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s director of public affairs for its Gulf of Mexico Regional Office, said in an email.
Of the four new areas announced, the largest comprises 495,567 acres — significantly larger than the lease area sold to RWE, which comprises 102,480 acres and has the potential to generate up to 1.24 GW.
BOEM did not state how many gigawatts the largest area might provide, but said it has the “potential to power 2.1 million homes.” The 1.24 GW lease, comparatively, will have the potential to power 435,400 homes, according to the Interior Department.
“The projects hosted by these new areas could allow the Gulf of Mexico region to further solidify its position in the offshore wind industry, bringing even more opportunity to a region already heavily involved in the national supply chain,” the Business Network for Offshore Wind said in a release.
BOEM’s next step in the process for leasing these four areas will be to issue a proposed sale notice with a 60-day comment period.