In order to further boost the burgeoning renewable energy sector, the US plans to explore the potential for offshore wind power production in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico (GOM). The move is a part of a recent announcement by President Joe Biden of a series of steps to combat climate change.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) is seeking public input on two potential wind energy areas (WEAs) in the GOM’s Outer Continental Shelf as part of the project. The first draft WEA is situated around 24 nautical miles (nm) off the coast of Galveston, Texas, and the second is situated 56 nm off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana. The two WEAs have the capacity to power 799,000 houses on a combined 188,023 acres of land. For a period of 30 days, DOI will seek public feedback on the WEAs.
Additionally, a draft environmental assessment (EA) for the entire GOM call area has been created by the DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). Following the issuance of the lease, the EA will evaluate any potential impacts of the site characterisation and site assessment operations. It is intended to aid BOEM in creating the required guidelines to minimise any adverse environmental impact of project development in the GOM. Currently, a 30 day public consultation period on the draft EA is in progress.