US Holds First Gulf of Mexico Offshore Wind Energy Auction
The lease auction aims to advance the president’s commitment to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind energy by 2030.
The US Department of the Interior held the first offshore wind energy auction for the Gulf of Mexico region on 29 August, resulting in one lease area receiving a high bid of $5.6 million. RWE Offshore US Gulf was the winner of the Lake Charles Lease Area, which has the potential to generate approximately 1.24 GW of offshore wind energy capacity and power nearly 435,400 homes.
“Today’s lease sale represents an important milestone for the Gulf of Mexico region—and for our nation—to transition to a clean energy future,” said Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Elizabeth Klein. “The Lake Charles Lease Area will have the potential to generate enough electricity to power about 435,400 homes and create hundreds of jobs.”
The Interior Department has approved the nation's first four commercial scale offshore wind projects, held four offshore wind lease auctions—including a record-breaking sale offshore New York and the first sales offshore the Pacific and Gulf Coasts, initiated environmental review of ten offshore wind projects, and advanced the process to explore additional wind energy areas in Oregon, the Gulf of Maine, and the Central Atlantic. The department has also taken steps to evolve its approach to offshore wind to drive toward union-built projects and a domestic supply chain.
BOEM’s lease sale offered two areas offshore Galveston, Texas, one consisting of 102,480 acres and the other consisting of 96,786 acres. A third 102,480-acre area is offshore Lake Charles, Louisiana. The two Galveston lease areas offered did not receive bids.
RWE Offshore US Gulf, LLC earned the following bidding credits:
- A credit equal to 20% of the cash bid to bidders who commit to supporting workforce training programs and developing a domestic supply chain for the offshore wind energy industry
- A credit equal to 10% of the cash bid to bidders 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
These bidding credits will result in more than $860,000 in investments for workforce training and a domestic supply chain and another more than $430,000 for fisheries compensatory mitigation.