The Gulf of Mexico is now one step closer to becoming a major player in the clean energy game. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management designated the first two Wind Energy Area's in the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf. BOEM's announcement marks the first step for the Gulf of Mexico region to become a significant player for OCS wind energy projects.
The WEA's are slightly reduced compared to BEOM's initial proposal; the first two designated zones total 682,540 acres (2,762.14 km) within the Gulf of Mexico, whereas the initial proposal totalled 734,677 acres (2,973.12 km). The reduction resulted from the Department of Defense and the US Coast Guard's concerns regarding military operations, marine navigation, and shipping.
The WEA's are expected to produce enough clean energy to power approximately 3 million homes and located as follows:
• 508,265 acres (2,056.88 km) 24 nautical miles off the coast of Galveston, Texas with the potential to power 2.1 million homes; and
• 174,275 acres (705.26 km) 56 nautical miles off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana with the potential to power 740,000 homes.
BOEM's next step in this process is to issue a proposed sale notice (PSN) for the sale of wind energy leases, with a 60- day comment period. The PSN is expected to be issued late 2022 or early 2023.
BOEM's announcement marks the first step for the Gulf of Mexico region to become a significant player for OCS wind energy projects. Given the offshore industry's long standing presence in Texas and Louisiana, the Gulf of Mexico region could be poised to be become a powerhouse in offshore wind.