BOEM advances offshore wind leasing plans for northern California, Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico. Author: John Kim.

January 12 (Renewables Now) - The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) on Tuesday announced actions in the process towards potential offshore wind leasing in the Gulf of Mexico and northern California.

The agency said it is preparing a draft environmental assessment (EA) for potential leasing in an area of almost 30 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico. The space will be narrowed on the basis of stakeholder and ocean user input before any Wind Energy Areas (WEAs) are advanced.

The draft EA will examine potential environmental impacts of site characterisation and site assessment activities related to issuing offshore wind leases. It is due to be completed in the summer.

“The Gulf of Mexico is well-positioned to support a transition to a renewable energy future, as much of the infrastructure already exists to support offshore wind development in the region,” said BOEM director Amanda Lefton.

BOEM also released a draft EA on leasing within the Humboldt WEA off the northern California coast, which covers 533.5 sq km and could deliver up to 1.6 GW of wind capacity.

BOEM is now seeking public comments on its environmental analysis and of the measures intended to mitigate potential impacts. It will consider the comments before deciding whether to issue a finding of no significant impact or to conduct additional analyses, explained BOEM’s Pacific Office regional director Doug Boren.

In December 2021, BOEM completed its environmental review of offshore wind energy leasing activities in the New York Bight and issued a finding of no significant impact.

In October last year, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland outlined plans for the US to potentially hold up to seven new offshore wind lease sales by 2025, in the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, Central Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and off the coasts of the Carolinas, California and Oregon.

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Browse all articles from Plamena Tisheva

Plamena has been a UK-focused reporter for many years. As part of the Renewables Now team she is taking a keen interest in policy moves.

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