Offshore wind

Biden Administration Announces First Offshore Wind Lease Sale in the Gulf of Mexico

The lease area has the potential to support enough offshore wind power to run more than 1 million homes.

BOEM will auction three areas (shaded green) in the Gulf of Mexico for offshore wind development.
Source: BOEM

The Department of the Interior announced it will hold the first offshore wind energy lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, advancing the Biden administration’s work to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030 and reach a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035. The areas are scheduled to be auctioned on 29 August by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). The lease area has the potential to generate approximately 3.7 GW and power almost 1.3 million homes.

“The Gulf of Mexico is poised to play a key role in our nation’s transition to a clean energy future,” said BOEM Director Elizabeth Klein. “Today’s announcement follows years of engagement with government agencies, states, ocean users, and stakeholders in the Gulf of Mexico region. We look forward to continued collaboration in the years to come.”

The lease sale follows the Biden administration’s third approval earlier this month of a commercial-scale, offshore wind energy project in the United States and is part of the leasing path announced by Haaland in 2021.

“Today’s announcement marks another historic step in the Biden/Harris administration’s efforts to create a clean energy future,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. “By catalyzing the offshore wind energy potential of the Gulf of Mexico, we can tackle the climate crisis, lower energy costs for families, and create good-paying jobs.”

The Final Sale Notice (FSN) published in the Federal Register includes a 102,480-acre area offshore Lake Charles, La., and two areas offshore Galveston, Texas, one consisting of 102,480 acres and the other of 96,786 acres. The FSN provides detailed information about the final lease areas, lease provisions and conditions, and auction details. It also identifies qualified companies who can participate in the lease auction.
Earlier this year, the Interior Department announced a Proposed Sale Notice for offshore wind energy development in the Gulf of Mexico. During the 60-day comment period, BOEM received comments on several lease stipulations that supported BOEM’s commitment to engage with underserved communities, ocean users, and other stakeholders. The stipulations, which are part of the FSN, included:

  • Bidding credits to bidders who commit to supporting workforce training programs, developing a domestic supply chain for the offshore wind energy industry
  • Bidding credits for establishing and contributing to a fisheries compensatory mitigation fund or contributing to an existing fund to mitigate potential negative effects to commercial and for-hire recreational fisheries caused by offshore wind energy development in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Requiring that lessees provide a regular progress report summarizing engagement with Tribes and ocean users potentially affected by proposed offshore wind energy activities