Offshore wind leasing in the Gulf of Mexico will have “no significant impact” on environmental resources, according to the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which announced the completion of its environmental review on 30 May.
If BOEM decides to proceed with a lease tender, it will publish a final sale notice at least 30 days beforehand, which will list the companies qualified to participate.
BOEM will also develop environmental impact statements for any proposed project to analyse the specific environmental consequences of the projects before approval can be granted.
In October, BOEM identified the final offshore wind energy areas in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico, a 2,056km2 site 44km off Galveston in Texas, and a 705km2 site 103km off Lake Charles, Louisiana.
In the Gulf of Mexico, the average annual winds are not as high as off other coasts in the US, though there are fierce hurricanes. But installation of offshore wind infrastructure and building a nearby supply chain will be relatively easy because of the decades of oil and gas development. Public acceptance is also likely to be higher.