US BOEM to seek fisheries funds for Gulf of Mexico wind leases

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is proposing new wind energy areas totaling 1,148 square miles but will offer something for local fisheries.


Offshore wind turbines farm on the ocean.

The first offshore wind power lease auction in the Gulf of Mexico will offer a 10 percent credit to developers who contribute to a fisheries compensation fund for commercial and charter fishermen.

The August 2023 auction by the BOEM will offer a 102,480-acre area offshore Lake Charles, LA and two areas off Galveston, TX, one comprising 102,480 acres and the other 96,786 acres. If developed to full potential, the lease areas could hold turbine arrays with nameplate ratings totaling 3.7 gigawatts of electricity.

In planning the Gulf wind energy areas, BOEM excluded highly productive fishing areas after consultations with numerous fishing interests with stipulations there is a compensatory mitigation fund.

This is a good first step towards addressing the potential adverse impacts of the offshore wind lease on the Gulf’s fishing industry.

BOEM said it will offer bidding credits for companies and developers who commit to establishing or contributing to a fisheries compensatory mitigation fund, counting toward 10 percent of the cash bid. That means eligible bidders could put down less money upfront for the lease, with the guarantee that they will use an equivalent amount to develop or contribute to a fisheries compensatory mitigation fund for the Gulf commercial and charter/for-hire fishing industries.

Mitigation funds would offset gear loss, counterbalance reductions in fishing income, and, where possible, reduce the cost of required gear/navigational upgrades and support fishermen’s involvement in the wind project.

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