Wind lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), a division of the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), is proposing the first-ever offshore wind lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico. 

The proposed sale is part of the leasing project announced by the DOI in 2021 to meet the Biden administration’s goal to deploy thirty gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030. 

BOEM began identifying areas in the Gulf of Mexico in late 2021, following findings from government studies that show the Gulf of Mexico’s shallow waters and proximity to oil and gas infrastructure make it promising for the expansion of a new offshore industry.  According to their studies, these areas presented the fewest apparent environmental and user conflicts identified as Wind Energy Areas (WEA).

On February 23, 2023, BOEM published a proposed Lease Areas including a 102,481-acre portion of the WEA offshore Lake Charles, Louisiana, and two WEAs totaling a combined 199,266 acres offshore Galveston, Texas. Together, the proposed Lease Areas have the potential to produce enough wind energy to power 1.3 million homes. 

TBF will be looking at how BOEM would affirm its commitment to engage with our community.  Specifically, how to establish and contribute to a fisheries compensatory mitigation fund or contributing to an existing fund to mitigate potential negative impacts to commercial and for-hire recreational fisheries caused by offshore wind development; and requiring that lessees provide a regular progress report summarizing engagement with ocean users potentially affected by offshore wind activities.