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July 21, 2022

US to explore offshore wind power development in Gulf of Mexico

DOI is seeking public input on two potential wind energy areas in the Gulf of Mexico's Outer Continental Shelf.

The US is set to explore the potentiality of offshore wind power development in the oil-rich Gulf of Mexico (GOM) to further expand the growing renewable energy sector.

The move is part of a series of steps to address climate change that President Joe Biden announced this week.

As part of the initiative, the Department of the Interior (DOI) is seeking public input on two potential wind energy areas (WEA s) in the GOM’s Outer Continental Shelf.

The first draft WEA is located around 24 nautical miles (nm) from the coast of Galveston, Texas, while the second one is 56nm offshore from Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The two WEA s cover a total area of 188,023 acres and have the potential to provide power for 799,000 homes.

DOI will be accepting public feedback on the WEA s for 30 days.

US Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said: “President Biden has called on us to address the climate crisis and Interior is taking that challenge to heart.

“The promise of renewable energy is undeniable, as is the momentum for a clean energy transition.

“Today’s announcement in the Gulf of Mexico is one of many commitments we are making to spur innovation, create good-paying jobs, and collaborate with states, Tribes and communities to ensure that we are doing everything we can to care for our Earth.”

In addition, DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has developed a draft environmental assessment (EA) for the entire GOM call area.

The EA will assess the potential impacts of site characterisation and site assessment activities that will be conducted following lease issuance.

It aims to help BOEM develop the necessary stipulations to minimise any environmental impacts of project development in the GOM.

A 30-day public consultation period on the draft EA is currently in progress.

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