Offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico

The Department of the Interior has announced that it will conduct the first lease sale of offshore wind energy in the Gulf of Mexico. This initiative is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to deploy 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power by 2030 and achieve a carbon-neutral power sector by 2035. The lease sale is scheduled for August 29. 2023, conducted by the Office of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).

The areas up for auction have the potential to generate 3.7 GW of wind power, which can supply 1.3 million homes with clean, renewable energy. This move is seen as a significant step towards creating a clean energy future and addressing the climate crisis. Secretary Deb Haaland emphasized the benefits of offshore wind power, including lower energy costs for families and the creation of good paying jobs.

BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein also expressed the importance of the Gulf of Mexico in the transition to a clean energy future. The announcement follows years of engagement and collaboration with various stakeholders, government agencies, and states in the Gulf of Mexico region. The association aims to continue exploring opportunities in the area in the coming years.

President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and “Bidenomics” strategy are driving growth in the US economy. This includes investments in infrastructure, spurring more than $490 billion in clean energy and manufacturing investments from the private sector, creating jobs, and building a clean energy economy to combat climate change and increase community resiliency. The administration is committed to making significant investments in America’s clean energy future and infrastructure, expanding offshore wind power to various areas of the country.

The lease sale is the latest development following the recent approval of a commercial-scale offshore wind project in the United States. This step aligns with Secretary Haaland’s lease path announced in 2021. The Final Sale Notice (FSN) will be published in the Federal Register on July 21, 2023. It includes detailed information on final lease areas, provisions, and lease terms, auction details, and qualified businesses eligible to participate in the lease auction. Those interested can find more information on the BOEM website.

Earlier this year, the Department announced the proposed Notice of Sale for the offshore wind development in the Gulf of Mexico. During the 60-day comment period, BOEM received feedback on various lease provisions to ensure the participation of underserved communities, ocean users, and other stakeholders. Some of these provisions, included in the FSN, involve the tendering of credits for companies that commit to support workforce training programs, develop a national supply chain for the offshore wind industry, and contribute to funds of compensatory fishing mitigation.

Over the past two years, the Biden-Harris administration has made significant strides catalyzing the clean energy industry, investing in workers and communities, and prioritizing biodiversity and the co-use of the oceans. BOEM plans to review at least 16 plans to build and operate commercial offshore wind facilities by 2025. If approved, these plans would represent more than 27 GW of clean energy for the nation.