WASHINGTON D.C. (KLFY) – The Department of the Interior is proposing the first-ever offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico. The area is known for oil and gas, but this would open acreage for wind power.
The announcement is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s latest actions to expand offshore wind opportunities to more regions of the country and create good-paying jobs for workers.
The Proposed Sale Notice (PSN) includes a 102,480-acre area offshore of Lake Charles and two areas offshore Galveston, Texas, one comprising 102,480 acres and the other comprising 96,786 acres. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is seeking public comments on which, if any, of the two lease areas offshore Galveston should be offered in the Final Sale Notice.
“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 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.”
Secretary Haaland announced the leasing path that contains the proposed sale back in 2021. Since the start of the Biden-Harris administration, the Department has held three offshore wind lease auctions. The Department has also taken steps to evolve its approach to offshore wind to drive towards union-built projects and a domestic based supply chain.
“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 of Ocean Energy Management 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.”
BOEM is also looking for feedback on several lease stipulations, such as:
- Bidding credits to bidders that commit to supporting workforce training programs for the offshore wind industry.
- Establishing and contributing to a fisheries compensatory mitigation fund or contributing to an existing fund to mitigate potential negative impacts to commercial and for-hire recreational fisheries.
- Requiring that lessees provide a regular progress report summarizing engagement with Tribes and ocean users.
The PSN will publish in the Federal Register later this month and initiates a 60-day public comment period. If the Department decides to proceed with the sale, BOEM will publish a Final Sale Notice at least 30 days ahead of the sale.
The goal is to jumpstart the offshore wind industry, power homes and create thousands of jobs for the American people.