United States

United States

US to open Gulf of Mexico to offshore wind

President Joe Biden has directed the US Interior Department to propose the first wind energy areas (WEAs) in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico. So far, wind development areas have been located only off the east and west coasts.

The oil-rich Gulf of Mexico could soon see its first wind energy areas established (pic credit: Terry Vine/Getty Images)
The oil-rich Gulf of Mexico could soon see its first wind energy areas established (pic credit: Terry Vine/Getty Images)

Biden made the announcement yesterday (20 July) during a speech following the collapse of his climate plan in the Senate. He spoke at Brayton Point in Massachusetts, the site of a former coal plant and which will soon house a Prysmian Group factory for making subsea cables for offshore wind farms

The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is now seeking comment on WEAs in the Gulf of Mexico. One is 44km off the coast of Galveston, Texas and the other 103km off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana. They total 2,973km2 and could accommodate 8.9GW in installed wind capacity. 

“The promise of renewable energy is undeniable, as is the momentum for a clean energy transition,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.

Public comments will be accepted for 30 days beginning 20 July.

The WEAs are a subset of the 121,405km2 Gulf of Mexico call area that the Interior Department announced for public comment in October. The call area was pared back because of potential conflicts with other users. 

By 2025, the Interior Department hopes to hold up to five more offshore lease sales and complete the review of at least 16 plans to construct and operate offshore wind farms, representing more than 22GW of installed capacity. 

Biden has a goal of 30GW of operating offshore wind by 2030, up from just 42MW already installed.

South-east expansion

The White House also said yesterday that Biden would remove “uncertainty” because of former President Trump's offshore energy leasing ban off the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. 

Biden is directing the Secretary of the Interior to advance clean energy development in these federal waters, according to a White House fact sheet. 

The Democrat-led US House of Representatives recently passed legislation to lift the ten-year ban. 

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